Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things

The Weekly Word:
is an invitation to reflect on how God speaks to us through poetry, literature, and the visual arts. Share your reflections here so that we can join together on this journey of faith throughout the week.


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.


For Reflection:
Where do you turn for peace when your life gets hectic or the news is just too overwhelming? Where do you find yourself able to reconnect with God and be at peace with the world? Cherish that place, and return to it frequently to be reminded of God’s care for you and for creation.

3 Replies to “Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things”

  1. For me, this poem is a beautiful reminder of the connection between God and the natural world. Whether through watching a sunset over the ocean or gazing at the Milky Way, for me there is a strong connection between the infinite and the eternal. These vistas can be hard to find in the Chicago area so I find that long-distance running gives me a similar experience by clearing away the day-to-day mental clutter and refocusing my mind in a more calm, peaceful way.

  2. When I first read this poem from Berry, I felt it was written for me. What he articulates as the grace and peace he finds in the natural world I also feel when I go fishing in Western Wisconsin. I wander through the tall grasses, spending hours at a time beside bubbling brooks, forgetting anything and everything about the world from which I came. There is the warm sunlight, the hum of insect life, the sound of toads leaping into the water as I wander by, and of course the splash of a trout as we connect through the fly line. When I am away from the water I reflect fondly on the hours spent lost in that world and, ironically, my desire is to share that with others (especially those closest to me) while knowing that that kind of experience can not be transferred…and so I cherish it as my own and let it restore me in my relationship with God.