Monday, April 17, 2017

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

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. 

Some thoughts…

On the poet: Wendell Berry (1931-Present) is an American writer, environmentalist, and farmer. Mr. Berry’s activism stems from the Sixties when he delivered ‘A Statement against the War in Vietnam’. He has engaged in non-violent protests for several environmental causes; championing tirelessly against fossil fuels - coal in particular - and is a defender of rural values that incorporate the practice of sustainable agriculture.

On this poem: This is not a poem that requires a great deal of analysis. The truth that it voices is as accessible as it is incontrovertible. But its simplicity is still touched by notes of beauty –

“still waters”

“day-blind stars"

“I rest in the grace of the world, and am free”

On a personal note: Happy Earth Week.

Wendell Berry is a writer that I came upon relatively recently, but one whom I shall be studying with great interest. Generally, I prefer poetry that is free of political statements. Unfortunately, more than at any other point in history, the future of our planet is now dependent on man-made decisions. Perhaps it’s good when poets too turn to environmental activism, and defend the earth and all its species from human depredation.

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry

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