Wendell Berry -Do Not Be Ashamed

Do Not Be Ashamed

You will be walking some night

in the comfortable dark of your yard

and suddenly a great light will shine

round about you, and behind you

will be a wall you never saw before.

It will be clear to you suddenly

that you were trying to escape,

and that you are guilty: you misread

the complex instructions, you are not

a member, you lost your card

or never had one. And you will know

that they have been here all along,

their eyes on your letters & books,

their hands in your pockets,

their ears wired to your bed.

Though you have done nothing shameful,

they will want you to be ashamed.

They will want you to kneel & weep

and say you should have been like them.

and once you say you’re ashamed,

reading the pages they hold out to you,

then such light as you have made

in your history will leave you.

They will no longer need to pursue you.

You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.

They will not forgive you.

There is no power against them,

It is only candor that is aloof from them,

only an inward clarity, unashamed,

that they cannot reach. Be ready.

When their light has picked you out

and their questions are asked, say to them:

“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon

will come around you. The heron will begin

his evening flight from the hilltop.

Wendell Berry

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