Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Poems

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of 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
...

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
...

I.

I dream of you walking at night along the streams
of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs
...

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
...

The gods are less for their love of praise.
Above and below them all is a spirit that needs nothing
but its own wholeness, its health and ours.
It has made all things by dividing itself.
...

In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
...

Even while I dreamed I prayed that what I saw was only fear and no foretelling,
for I saw the last known landscape destroyed for the sake
of the objective, the soil bludgeoned, the rock blasted.
Those who had wanted to go home would never get there now.
...

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
...

And now to the Abyss I pass
Of that Unfathomable Grass...


1.
...

Being a Fragment
of the Natural History of New Eden,
in Homage
To Mr. Ed McClanahan, One of the Locals

...

I.

The poem is important, but
not more than the people
...

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
...

Like the water
of a deep stream,
love is always too much.
...

14.

I was born in a drouth year. That summer
my mother waited in the house, enclosed
in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind,
...

15.

I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
...

Though the air is full of singing
my head is loud
with the labor of words.
...

If you are not to become a monster,
you must care what they think.
If you care what they think,
...

ALL that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
...

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
...

Wendell Berry Biography

an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is also an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a recipient of The National Humanities Medal.)

The Best Poem Of Wendell Berry

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.

Wendell Berry Comments

Kathryn Weller Renfrow 22 April 2012

There are some mistakes in your version of The Peace of Wild Things, the first line you left out for the world, and 10th line is with their light, not for their light 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.

71 15 Reply
Cynthia Buhain-baello 13 May 2015

I like your style of writing as it flows smoothly like a friend's discourse, nothing imposed and not preachy. Your words are very profound yet simple, and the topics you choose are clearly from the heart and from who you are.

12 1 Reply
hhhhtttew 26 November 2018

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Walter 05 November 2020

looking for Wendell Berry's poem in which he describes seeing a mountain lion.

0 0 Reply
Joanna 03 September 2020

the nation is a boat,2007, is written for all time, but in particular, for today. a powerful message that reminds me to hold on to the goodness of life...tightly!

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Rosemary Manning 21 August 2020

I have just purchased his book of poetry. The Peace of Wild Things has been my go to poem for difficult times. I love it.

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dejahnae 06 April 2020

i love the writing style and grammar

0 0 Reply
Lesley 04 December 2018

.Couldn't find poem I was looking for, it really should be here, To a Siberian Woodsman - Very powerful and beautiful anti war poem

2 1 Reply

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