Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 Paperback – April 1, 1999
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Peace and quiet describe them best. Called "Sabbath Poems", they are often the result of a restful walk through the woods, a time of reflection and enjoyment of "the given world". Themes through the book are love of nature (and God through nature), a growing disgust with the modern world, the presence and comfort of death and life, and his love for his wife.
Metrically, Berry's poetry is marked by the strength of his individual lines. Sometimes he rhymes; almost always there is an internal, even organic rhythm.
As this book spans 1979 -- 1997, it is also interesting to trace the progression of his poetry. His lines grow stronger as his poems grow simpler. And he is less afraid to venture out a bit -- while most of his poems are 15-20 lines unrhymed with internal rhythm, he tries on rhyming patterns, writes one or two line works, and even writes a 13 page praise of the pastoral life.
215 pages long is a good deal longer than most books of poetry that aren't "collections". My favorite poems are towards the end, if you're only going to read a few, read the ones from 1992 on.
Poems to quite your soul and spirit. Highly recommended.
A sample poem:
I go among the trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.Read more ›
Berry is a farmer, a tender of fields and flocks and fences. Of course he is also a highly regarded poet; a man of soil and art and meditation. In this collection his recurring themes include: The importance of honest labor and the importance of rest and contemplation, "the standing Sabbath of the woods" as he calls it; the nature and passing of time, the connectedness of ourselves to our histories and of matter to spirit. Recurring metaphors of light falling into darkness and light arising from darkness, of life fading into death and of life arising from death, have both material and spiritual meanings. . .
"His passing now has brought him up
Into a place not reached by road,
Beyond all history that he knows,
Where trees like great saints stand in time,
Eternal in their patience. Loss
Has rectified the songs that come
Into this columned room, and he
Only in silence, nothing in hand,
Comes here. A generosity
Is here by which the fallen stand." (1984, p65)
The author invites the reader to consider the verses here a few at a time, in moments of quiet and solitude, of "Sabbath rest," in the same manner in which the verses were created.
From what I can understand, this collection of poems were written as a response to his practice of Sunday morning walking meditations over a period of two decades. In order to truly hear Mr. Berry in his poetry and his prayer, I read --out loud-- each poem as a chapter of a book. So for one evening, I read, for example, the six poems included from the 1990 collection. I do not know why the number of poems included from each year vary. For example, 1979 is made up of twelve poems and 1986 only one. Was Mr. Berry more prolific or more skilled in one particular year over another?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I may be late to climb aboard the Wendell Berry bandwagon, but I've read seven of his books in the past four months (as well as a few essays). Read morePublished 2 months ago by X. Libris
I have been a fan of Wendell Barry for years. A Timbered Choir is another amazing volume of his work!Published 5 months ago by Swedish in Seattle
I love his descriptions of even the "mundane." I have 2 other books by WB, too ... and love them, too. Read morePublished 7 months ago by tree
I love Wendell Berry's poems because they about the natural world and are written simply. So beautiful, and reach me in a very spiritual way--so perfect for reading on the Sabbath... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Teacher Jan
A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry are a gentle collection of poems centered around Sunday walks through the woods and fields, and reflections on God,... Read morePublished on November 8, 2013 by Eric Maroney
The poems in A Timbered Choir touch the heart and challenge the inner vision of the reader. The observations and insights about nature, man and spirit, gathered on his Sunday... Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by Sandra E. Bush
Rich and evocative imagery, with themes enigmatic enough to keep you thinking about each poem long after you've read it.Published on May 3, 2013 by Zelda
If you have not read much poetry and need to slow down, create some space for reflection, and consider sabbath, a good place to start is with this book of poems.Published on January 16, 2013 by Mike Sohm
I like Berry's poetry very much, but not this collection. It is just too preoccupied with death and dying to suit my taste. Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by Raven Ranch