Monday, August 6, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Three (Berry)

"The Peace of Wild Things"
Photo Credit: Dan Carraco

I believe in serendipity, destiny, and what is meant to be. Not too long ago my friend Paula Todd King suggested this poem for The Mnemosyne Weekly, and then, last week, for Tiferet Talk, I interviewed Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who told me that it's one of her favorite poems. Next, my boyfriend walked up to me with a printed out copy of the poem to suggest that I use it for Mnemosyne. At that point, I was already sold, but to top it all off, my Facebook friend, Corey Mesler, posted a list on my wall yesterday of people who share my August 5th birthday, and Wendell Berry was on it! So, here it is, the much beloved, highly recommended "The Peace of Wild Things." The poem comes from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

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.


  1. Some time ago I heard Wendell Berry when he addressed a progressive Presbyterian organization, in Louisville, KY. He was so gracious and fed us immeasurably.
    Jean Rodenbough

    1. Jean, that sounds incredible. I have to ask, as a poet, do you mean that he fed you literally? I would love to hear all about that, whether it was literal, metaphorical, or both!

  2. Also a good reminder to GET OFF THE DAMN COMPUTER and go for a walk.

    Which is exactly what I'm going to do now.

    Thank you.