The Mad Farmer Manifesto: The First Amendment

5 May


“…it is not too soon to provide by every

possible means that as few as possible shall be

without a little portion of land.  The small

landholders are the most precious part of the state.”

-Jefferson to Reverend James Madison,

October 28, 1785

That is the glimmering vein

of our sanity, dividing

from us from the start: land

under us to steady us when we stood,

free men in the great communion

of the free.  The vision keeps

lighting in my mind, a window

on the horizon in the dark.


To be sane in a mad time

is bad for the brain, worse

for the heart.  The world

is a holy vision, had we clarity

to see it–a clarity that men

depend on men to make.


It is ignorant money I declare

myself free from, money fat

and dreaming in its sums, driving

us into the streets of absence,

stranding the pasture trees

in the deserted language of banks.


And I declare myself free

from ignorant love.  You easy lovers

and forgivers of mankind, stand back!

I will love you at a distance,

and not because you deserve it.

My love must be discriminate

or fail to bear its weight.

–Wendell Berry


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