The Vacation

by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

 


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2012 by Wendell Berry, whose most recent book of poems is New Collected Poems, Counterpoint, 2012. Poem reprinted from New Collected Poems, Counterpoint, 2012, and used with permission of Wendell Berry and the publisher.

About the Author:

Wendell Berry is an American poet who lives in Kentucky.