The Peace of Wild Things

It’s been a hellish few months for the world.  It feels like every day there’s an even worse story on the news. At times it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of grief and despair over current world events.

Growing up in Glasgow, I can remember my mother’s concerns when the world experienced its frequent periods of madness  – especially when they occurred during the summer months – as they reminded her of that summer of 1939 when things spiralled out of control.

I have to admit that over the past few weeks I’ve started to fear that we’re barrelling towards something we can’t stop. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed with bad news, I read this poem – The Peace of Wild Things – by American poet and novelist Wendell Berry.

It helps me.  I hope it helps you too.

The Peace of Wild Things – 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.

lighthouse

 

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4 thoughts on “The Peace of Wild Things

  1. A lovely piece. I find heading outdoors when something is bothering me or upsetting me always helps. In 1848 Søren Kierkegaard wrote: “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” And John Muir said: “Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir (1838 -1914). In Isaiah there is a verse that reads: “and thou shalt be like a watered garden”. That’s one that I love too. Where would we be without nature?

  2. Beautiful. We do this too. Great poem. Beautiful photo. Many hugs…. you got me dreaming and thinking about my mom and her girlfriend, who did just that when climbing up Esja in Rejkyavik at midnight! anna

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