Monday, May 21, 2018

Philip Britts

Philip Britts (1917—1949) is a poet, farmer, pacifist, and pastor who was originally from Devon, England. He became a member of the Bruderhof Christian community, after they had been expelled from Germany by Hitler's government in 1937; when they fled to England, Britts and his wife joined the movement. During WWII, Britts moved to Paraguay with others from his community. It was in South America where he contracted a rare tropical disease which took his life.

In 2018, Plough — the publishing house of the Bruderhof community — has made available, Water at the Roots, a collection of Philip Britts's poetry, interspersed with brief biographical sketches to contextualize the poems. They describe him as a British Wendell Berry, because of his philosophy of life, and the poetry he wrote.

The following poem is from Water at the Roots.

Wait For The Weather

It's good to plough when the earth is soft
----And the furrows smoothly go;
When the tilth is fine and the weather fair,
----It is good to sow.

So when the earth is baked to brick
----And wind is dry and sun is bright,
It's better to bide at home and wait,
----And put your harness right.

It's better to wait your time, and make
----Good order for when you start.
Then all day long, when the time is right,
----Plough with a thankful heart.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.