Spring Cleaning

A Purification

At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise,
have been inattentive to wonders,
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

–– Wendell Berry

Published by


If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

15 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning”

  1. Arti,

    Thanks for sharing this poem and all that it reminds me of, especially my sin of not being happy enough too, considering how blessed I am……


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful poem. You have given me an idea of what to do with the many papers I am reluctant to recycle publicly because of personal information and for security. Why indeed not bury the shredded papers in the compost heap to complete the cycle of living and giving.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Arti, You and I have a love for literature and nature in common. I created a blog for the Baltimore County Forestry Board. This post discusses “How Do Birds Birds Survive the Final Months of Winter?” shorturl.at/novP3

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love Wendell Berry !

    Wild Geese by WB

    Geese appear high over us,
    pass, and the sky closes.
    as in love or sleep, holds
    them to their way, clear
    in the ancient faith: what we need
    is here.
    And we pray, not
    for new earth or heaven, but to be
    quiet in heart, and in eye,
    clear. What we need is here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful poem, Arti. As you might imagine, I smiled at that thought of
    “the winter’s accumulation of paper,
    pages I do not want to read
    again, useless words, fragments,

    It reminded me of the year I finally gave in and took that two-foot tall stack of New Yorker magazines to the trash, and piled them by the side of the dumpster. The sense of relief was palpable. Perhaps someone picked them up to read. Perhaps someone threw them into the dumpster. In either case, I was free to move on, and find some new words to read!

    And, yes: you can bet I’m going to ‘steal’ this poem for my own blog, some day.


    1. Have been trying to declutter all the time but not a simple task. Papers and magazines and what seem like junk might carry memories. Those that don’t have sentimental value are easy to deal with, just dump them to the recycle bin. It’s those that do that pose a dilemma. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I see more brown earth here than snow — a sure sign your winter is nearing its end and spring is beginning to burst through. I went through a magazine purge a few weeks ago and am STILL well inundated with reading material I’ll not ever get to… articles pulled from newspapers, things I’ll never use for collage, don’t even start me on the filing cabinet! But, I am glad have been “happy enough,” maybe even more so! And not regretting all I’ve read or listened to in my world. Life is good. Just extremely cluttered!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s