The Forgiveness Of The New Dawn

All yesterday afternoon I sat
here by the river while the holiday
boats sped by. Their wake
beat on the shores, muddying
the water, their sleek hulls
rocking and pounding in the wake
of other boats the engines filling
the air with torment. They will come
again today and again tomorrow,
for this is Labor Day weekend,
a time to celebrate with restlessness
the possibility of rest always
farther one. But this morning I came
again at first light. The river
had cleared. It lay still from bend
to bend. The night birds were passing
homeward ahead of the day. An owl
trilled once, and then a wren woke
and sang. The herons stalked
soundlessly the dusky shadows. Quietly,
quietly, the river received
the forgiveness of the new dawn.

— Wendel Berry, “Sabbaths 2002”, IX, from Given


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