The Peace of Wild Things
December 3, 2009, 9:49 am
Filed under: Books, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: ,

Wendell Berry will be in town tonight to speak and do a reading of some of his work. Berry has had prolific career as a “man of letters,” well known for his essays, novels, and poems. Along with being a writer and cultural critic Berry is foremost a farmer from Henry County, Kentucky.

Map of the town of Port William, a fictional town Berry created as the setting for several of his novels.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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The Peace of Wild Things is one of the most beautiful and moving poems I have ever read.

I was in Canterbury in Britain a couple of weekends ago, and was walking along one of the main streets there, and I saw it written in graffiti on a wall that led down to an unpass beneath the train line. In my mind I imagined that maybe it was written by a local woman, who had children and who had those middle of the night thoughts, who was maybe a poet who wrote her way through her fears – why I imagined a woman, I don’t really know! But there you are. I googled it, and just want to say what a stunning poet Wendell is. I took a photo of the poem on the wall, and would like to send it to Wendell, if someone could please forward me his website.


Comment by Lorae Parry

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