Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today's poem - The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

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 may 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.

This poem expresses much of the essence of my country life. The wildness, the nature around me does truly give solace when my heart is heavy. The quietness calms the noise in my head. I receive the visits of deer and chickadees and wild turkeys and bears and moose as blessings. The one asparagus plant that always comes up reminds me that someone planted it oh, so many years ago. The Duchess apple tree has survived a long, long time and still bears fruit. The big maple out front has been here probably longer than my old house. We find chunks of coal and shards of pottery and old bottles and think about those who lived here before us. There is a feeling of permanence and of natural life continuing on, no matter what occurs in the lives of the humans who share this land. The swallows come back to the same birdhouse each spring, the robins fill the lawns and nest in the trees, the woodcock tells us winter is gone. These things are unchanging, and I am filled with peace.


  1. I love this. Absolutely love it. Thank you for posting it, Nan.

  2. Nan...I love Wendell Berry..he is a KY author, I've heard him read and speak a few times..he is a lovely man..His novel Jayber Crow is beyond wonderful. If you haven't read it..please do! :)


  3. Jeanie, a month and two days later, I just bought Jayber Crow. Thank you for the recommendation!

  4. Nan, this is a beautiful poem! He says it so beautifully, and for me, too, there is so much truth in what he says.

  5. Robin, thanks for coming to read it. I'm so glad you did.

  6. I have just discovered Wendell Berry, and I love how peaceful his poetry is. He reminds me of a modern Frost. My favorite line is: "I come into peace with wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. This poem makes you slow down and truly enjoy the peace of the "wild things." It is easy to get caught up in the worries and business of life and never slow down to rest. Sometimes we just need to rest, and be still. I love this poem.

  7. I love Wendell Berry! Thank you for this reminder.


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