Wendell Berry

(August 5, 1934 / Henry County, Kentucky)

The Real Work

Poem by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Topic(s) of this poem: work


Comments about The Real Work by Wendell Berry

  • Jann Boyer (11/14/2018 9:47:00 PM)

    I love this poem. It challenges, and comforts. Thank you.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Wallis Green (2/7/2018 4:40:00 PM)

    A neat poem that wrote itself.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (2/7/2018 3:42:00 PM)

    Brevity makes the point sharper- -and sometimes truth is blunt. Berry makes the blunt truth piercing sharp. Excellent piece of writing here.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (2/7/2018 12:34:00 PM)

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed! Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • John Bastardly (2/7/2018 9:38:00 AM)

    IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SHORT(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Glen KappyGlen Kappy (2/7/2018 7:22:00 AM)

    First, it looks like to was left out in the second line, so it should read come to our real work.

    In response to what Berry says (and he is someone I respect) , I think, yes, we need to be challenged. But what of inspiration that is graced on us? But often for us it follows the times of bafflement, of challenge.

    I especially like the closing line.

    GK(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (2/7/2018 12:51:00 AM)

    Wendell, such a brilliant write.. congrats for being chosen... a huge 10+++(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ruta MohapatraRuta Mohapatra (2/7/2018 12:39:00 AM)

    Liked the last two lines. Well expressed!(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 8 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags


Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015



[Report Error]