The Peace of Wild Things

Wendell Berry (1934- ), farmer, environmentalist, author of poems, novels, short stories, and essays, resides near his birth place in Kentucky. His poetry often reveals his deep reverence for the earth, like in the following example.

The Peace of Wild Things by 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.

From Selected Poems, Counterpoint Press, 1999.

Some consider his Sabbaths poems among his best. Here is an example. In the video, Berry introduces the poem by asking a question: “The big question, of course, for us as humans is: How do you get to the Sabbath? How do you get to a point of rest that is legitimate and deserved?”

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