Wendell Berry

(August 5, 1934 / Henry County, Kentucky)

The Peace of Wild Things


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

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Friday, July 18, 2014

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Read poems about / on: despair, water, grief, children, peace, beauty, fear, light, world, night, time, life, child, star

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  • Rookie - 10 Points Jeffrey Tedford (10/14/2014 5:21:00 AM)

    Compact and elegant, this poem reminds me of the important images of life. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light is especially haunting and elegiac. These lines are worthy of the great Romantic poets, whom I rank as Berry's forerunners and peers. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anne Williams (9/29/2012 4:03:00 AM)

    Just heard it read out on a radio programme in which it was the response to a listener's sense of loss and worry over a child leaving home to go to university - very appropriate. Love the sense of learning to just be from nature, rather than worrying about being. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Stacia Norcross (5/25/2009 9:05:00 PM)

    hey my name is Stacia, and im doing a school project on some kind of poem and poet
    and this was my favorite poem, but i just need some information on why you wrote this poem.
    so if you could email me back on why you wrote this. if you have anytime before tomorrow. please and thanks you. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Brian Robbins (1/27/2008 11:14:00 PM)

    Really a perfect example of the restorative powers of nature. Just reading it eases one away from everyday stress. (Report) Reply

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