Wendell Berry

The Kentuckian Wendell Berry is not so much a poet of nature, but rather a poet of the ever-shifting interaction between humankind and nature, with an eye toward optimum equilibrium. This poem, one of his most loved, actually deals less with that balance than with the peace nature can bring us when we are attentive to it.

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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