Monday, April 27, 2015

Wendell Berry: "The Peace of Wild Things"

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.

"The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry. Text as published in New Collected Poems (Counterpoint Press, 2012).

Curator's note: So many tragedies in the world. I can't acknowledge them all with a poem. But I can't let pass the earthquake and aftershocks that have recently terrorized countless people in Nepal, India and Tibet. May memory hold in its golden cup all those who have perished. May the survivors somehow rest in the peace they need to go on. May we on the outside help bear them up, help carry them to still waters.

Art credit: Untitled photograph by Omar Havana/Getty Images. Caption: "A Buddha statue is surrounded by debris from a collapsed temple in the UNESCO world heritage site of Bhaktapur on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal."


  1. Thinking of those perished, their loved ones, the fearful. Sending peace, comfort.

  2. Thank you for this poem; it always brings me peace. And thank you, too, for your centering thoughts for the survivors of this tragedy.

    1. You're very welcome. The center is the ground.

  3. My Lakota wife taught me that the centre of the world is anywhere that we stand, because the centre is in us. I love your sentiment, that the centre is the ground, as Nick Black Elk also basically wrote.


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