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      David Filippone

      Photo: ‘Going Back’ by cocoparisienne – Pixabay,


      This is an interesting poem, in the sense that it can be read in various ways. For instance, at a normal discursive level, which is a kind of linear reading. It can also be read through the benefit of the TSK vision:

      No Going Back
      by Wendell Berry

      No, no, there is no going back.
      Less and less you are
      that possibility you were.
      More and more you have become
      those lives and deaths
      that have belonged to you.
      You have become a sort of grave
      containing much that was
      and is no more in time, beloved
      then, now, and always.
      And so you have become a sort of tree
      standing over a grave.
      Now more than ever you can be
      generous toward each day
      that comes, young, to disappear
      forever, and yet remain
      unaging in the mind.
      Every day you have less reason
      not to give yourself away.

      One of many possible readings… As we get older, we may tend to hold on less to a ‘myopic self-interest’, and become less focused on striving to accumulate and consolidate, the way we may have in our past. Gradually over time we may relax into a more generous way of being, not only with those we interact, but also in the way we engage with each moment… there’s less rushing, and more space available to embody and abide in the present… aware that everything passes, along with the wispy-wish to remain.

      Another  way of reading the poem… By engaging the TSK vision, one might invite open inquiry, such as: Who goes back? Where is back? If you “give your-self away,“ then there’s only Now, where ‘who‘ and ‘back‘ arise together. Then, ‘who‘ is not relied upon, and ‘back‘ isn’t other than Now.  Now allows for both ‘who‘ and ‘back‘ simultaneously.

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