The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Three (Berry)


Original Post:


 Wendell Berry

“The Peace of Wild Things”

Photo Credit: Dan Carraco


I believe in serendipity, destiny, and what is meant to be. Not too long ago my friend Paula Todd King suggested this poem for The Mnemosyne Weekly, and then, last week, for Tiferet Talk, I interviewed Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who told me that it’s one of her favorite poems. Next, my boyfriend walked up to me with a printed out copy of the poem to suggest that I use it for Mnemosyne. At that point, I was already sold, but to top it all off, my Facebook friend, Corey Mesler, posted a list on my wall yesterday of people who share my August 5th birthday, and Wendell Berry was on it! So, here it is, the much beloved, highly recommended “The Peace of Wild Things.” The poem comes from The Selected Poems of 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.


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