The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

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.


I was going to post a different poem today, but this one was on the facing page and cried out, “Me, I’m the one for today.” As I was typing it out, I realized I’d read several poems recently about how wild animals don’t mess with themselves mentally the way we do. I was especially struck by the image of the stars shining during the day and the idea that they’re waiting there even though we can’t see them.

Note: This is one in a series of poems selected to help those who may have been intimidated by poetry see that it need not be complicated to be beautiful and meaningful. Happy National Poetry Month!

5 thoughts on “The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

  1. Thank you, dear friend. While I’d known WB’s poem for quite some time, your sending it now was very timely. Thank you.

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