thomas m wilson

The Peace of Wild Things

April 6th, 2007

Sometimes life gets a bit too much. Too confusing or stressful or whatever the case may be.

Shelly’s sky lark, and Keats’ nightingale, were envied by those nineteenth century poets for the peace of unreflective sentience. Today I want to share with the world a poem by Wendell Berry, the English lecturer turned farmer from the east coast of the US. Like Shelly and Keats a century before him, Berry reminds us of the peace experienced by nonhuman lives. It is an instructive lesson:

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.


2 Responses to “The Peace of Wild Things”

  1. Bec on April 6th, 2007 at 6:53 pm:

    Like Leunig’s remedy for life ache, I know I can seek (and I have sought before) great comfort from nature. This poem is another nice reminder that I will be ok. It’s words do resonate with me and all that I am experiencing right now as you would know…
    I just wish that I was there with you in your room, sitting on your couch in the sun, listening to you read these words to me instead of being at such a distance. Then again, in such a situation I might not appreciate these poetic words to the extent that I am now…thank you dear Tom xx

  2. renee on April 9th, 2007 at 9:03 pm:

    thanks for that tom; it’s such a lovely piece of writing. it captures the experience some of us have had, of the restorative ways of nature… how spending time out, amidst the rustling and the buzzing and the clicking, the warmth and the chilly winds and salty sea air can bring us back to ourselves. ourselves as beings beyond our small selves. however, the poem also arouses a deep sadness in me; for what we seem to be doing now is fighting even for remnants such as described in the poem to continue to exist. I have this sort of chronic dread of the loss of nature, and this feeling is a sort of weight. so when I read these words, I can’t help but think, let’s hope such places can still exist, for us to go to, and for the creatures to thrive in.