When we despair…


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.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press.
Source: Collected Poems 1957-1982 (Counterpoint Press, 1985)

Listen to an Interview with Wendell Berry that is sure to right yourself in this tumbling world, so increasingly difficult to understand.


  1. Berry is one of my favorite writers and thinkers about the land and our relationship with all living things. A farmer from a family that has farmed the same Kentucky farmland for more than 200 years, he has an important perspective. He is very wise.


  2. Reblogged this on Poetic Champions and commented:
    Thanks to my blogfriend, Dancing Echoes, for passing this along. A most wonderful poem by Wendell Berry.

    It reminds me of my old friend and schoolmate, John Marquand, who takes some of the most wonderful bird photographs I’ve ever seen.


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