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    Water at the Roots

    Poems and Insights of a Visionary Farmer

    Foreword by David Kline, edited by Jennifer Harries

    4.03 Stars on Goodreads Read Reviews

    In a society uprooted by two world wars, industrialization, and dehumanizing technology, a revolutionary farmer turns to poetry to reconnect his people to the land and one another.

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    About The Book

    “One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.” – Joel Salatin

    In a society uprooted by war, industrialization, hate-filled ideology, and dehumanizing technology, Philip Britts sought a way of life where people could work together in harmony with the land and one another.

    A farmer, poet, activist, pastor, and mystic, Britts (1917–1949) has been called a British Wendell Berry. His story is no romantic agrarian elegy, but a life lived in the thick of history. As his country plunged headlong into World War II, he joined an international pacifist community, the Bruderhof, and was soon forced to leave Europe for South America.

    Amidst these great upheavals, his response – to root himself in faith, to dedicate himself to building community, to restore the land he farmed, and to use his gift with words to turn people from their madness – speaks forcefully into our time.  In an age still wracked by racism, nationalism, materialism, and ecological devastation, the life he chose and the poetry he composed remain a prophetic challenge.

    Jennifer Harries, a member of the Bruderhof, was born in Llansamlet, Wales, and now lives in New York.

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    Table of Contents


    To the Reader

    Part I: Wilderness

    1. Look up to see if the God I serve has seen
    2. Am I dreaming in this wilderness?
    3. We heard a call and hurried here
      Poem: Carol of the Seekers

    Part II: Ploughing

    1. It’s time that the soil was turned
    2. Now is the harvest of death
      Poem: The Hour on Which We Look
    3. Let there be no fallow in my heart
    4. One with thy brothers in the quest

    Part III: Planting

    1. Not only the wonder of reaping
      Poem: “That my white lamb
      Poem: A Song of Isaiah
    2. Fighting on towards the kingdom
      Poem: Harvest Lullaby

    Part IV: Cultivating

    1. Here on earth, in your own land
      Poem: “Down the years a murmur runneth
    2. The longest drought shall pass
      Poem: “There is a calling
    3. Where are now the roses of the land?
    4. Finding the source-water
      Poem: Song for the Present Day

    Part V: Harvesting

    1. Something less visible than the atom
    2. Some work beyond our human power
      Excerpt: In the Time of the Breaking of Nations
    3. Here is a mystery
      Excerpt: Behind Nature
    4. Like water at the roots
    5. Quicken the seed