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The Peace of Wild Things
by
Wendell Berry


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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence  of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, 1999),
Used here with  the author's permission.

 


Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Wendell Berry is an American writer. The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, he has been a farmer and environmental activist throughout his adult life, with stints in between as a university professor. The recipient of numerous awards, including Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellowships, Wendell is the first living writer to be inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. He lives and works with his wife on a farm in Port Royal, Kentucky. Learn more about him at http://wendellberrybooks.com/ and http://berrycenter.org/.


 


Post New Comment:
fer:
I am rereading this lovely poem again on the Friday after election day. It seems as tho' he wrote it for us....for now. I probably will commit it to memory as I read it over and over in the coming year(s).
Posted 11/11/2016 04:14 PM
Sherry:
Well, now I have to buy his book, lol. Really, I will. Wish I could study under your tutelage.
Posted 11/11/2016 08:47 AM
barbsteff:
But most of us don't have a place like that to go to and lie down in. Mos of us live a looong way from where wood ducks live! Good general principal though.
Posted 11/09/2016 03:31 PM
jtmilford:
Thanks for revealing to us a new way to live.
Posted 11/08/2016 02:34 PM
plgoodman:
Perfect choice, Jayne. Berry is SO wise. we should all take a lesson...
Posted 11/08/2016 12:45 PM
mjs.ontheroad@gmail.com:
Just reading these comments is a peaceful blessing in a stressful if historic day!
Posted 11/08/2016 12:32 PM
Jo:
A perfect poem for today. A blessing anytime to read this poem.
Posted 11/08/2016 11:24 AM
blueskies:
Yes. A perfect poem for election day & beyond today. Thanks to all!
Posted 11/08/2016 10:56 AM
tpercival:
One of the great nature poems of all time.
Posted 11/08/2016 10:42 AM
carel:
A Blessing for today!
Posted 11/08/2016 10:00 AM
wordlover:
I may read this several times today.
Posted 11/08/2016 09:25 AM
KevinArnold:
Well, Wendell Berry, of course. Yes.
Posted 11/08/2016 09:23 AM
loisflmom:
Perfect!
Posted 11/08/2016 09:20 AM
transitions:
I love this. I would do just that if I could...beautiful and wise.
Posted 11/08/2016 09:14 AM
Michael:
Perfect post Jayne, Thank you.
Posted 11/08/2016 09:06 AM
TheSilverOne:
Wonder poem for election day stresses....Ah, nature.
Posted 11/08/2016 07:57 AM
cork:
Oh, those "day-blind stars"!
Posted 11/08/2016 07:55 AM
Jancan:
Ah, yes, PEACE--found in nature but not in politics. I love the poem. Time to go vote! Janice
Posted 11/08/2016 07:54 AM
paradea:
Sublime!!!
Posted 11/08/2016 07:05 AM
jeanie:
Imagine the world if everyone took a little time with the wood drake and the heron ...
Posted 11/08/2016 07:03 AM
Janet Leahy:
This is good medicine for today. Thank you.
Posted 11/08/2016 06:42 AM
Belinda Veldman:
Perfect.
Posted 11/08/2016 06:13 AM
JanetruthMartin:
'who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.' what a line. What a poem!
Posted 11/08/2016 06:09 AM
Newf:
Beautiful poem. Waves lapping gently are also peaceful. Nature can be a wonderful soother. I'm not American, but this election makes me afraid for the outcome and for the world. Thank you Wendell and Jayne.
Posted 11/08/2016 05:37 AM
rhonasheridan:
Day-blind stars! What a lovely thought.
Posted 11/08/2016 03:09 AM


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