by Peter Lilly

Living metaphors. Roots intertwining.
Muddy examples of incarnation.
As we make ourselves pristine with distance,
We keep ourselves safe from living dependance,
Growing in love with our own inventions
Of metal, burning, and night time shining,
Lamps that keep us from the movement of flame.
We busy ourselves with facility
To change the meaning of work and of soil,
To change the feeling of earth and our toil
To a passing of time and capital
And the use of numbers to spell our names.
Take the time to watch germinating seeds,
Learn the patience to be set free indeed. 

Author’s Note: This poem was written after reflecting on Wendell Berry’s Schumacher Lecture of October 24 1981, entitled ‘People Land and Community’ where Wendell Berry used the priorities of a healthy and functional marriage built on love to demonstrate what a healthy and functional agriculture built on love might look like, when compared industrialised farming. As the Bible continually uses images of agriculture and marriage for the church, this led me to reflect on what the impacts of Wendell Berry’s wisdom might be when applied to ecclesiology.

For Wendell Berry’s Schumacher Lecture of October 24 1981, entitled ‘People Land and Community’ (

Peter Lilly is a British Poet who grew up in Gloucester before spending eight years in London studying theology and working with the homeless. He now lives in the South of France with his wife and son, where he concentrates on writing, teaching English, and creative expressions of church. His work has been published in a number of journals including Macrina Magazine, Across the Margin, Radix Magazine, and the 2018 Anthology ‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying.’

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