This is an interesting poem. It can be read a number of 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.
A possible interpretation… As we get older we may tend to hold on less to a ‘myopic self-interest’ and become less focused on the striving to accumulate and consolidate, the way we have in our past, and thus relax into a more generous way of being, not only with those we might come into contact, but also in the way we engage with each moment… less rushing, but rather, more embodying, and abiding…
The TSK vision way of reading and experiencing this poem, might invite questions such as: Who goes back? Where is back? If you “give yourself 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.