Navigation Menu+

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 by


This is a poem for the middle of the night.  Here are the first six lines:

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

His words make me want to respond in kind.  To echo and borrow his rhythms:

When despair for my life and the life of those whom I love grows in me and when I wake in the night and the fear is there like an old visitor, I go out to the kitchen and I make, again, a mug of hot cocoa, and I remember, if only for a moment, the breezeway in my grandmother’s house, the coolness against my bare feet, the way it led out to the patio and the small table there, the fence around the yard, and the flowers against the fence, hollyhocks and four o’clocks and lilac.  I feel how that place is still present because I can remember it and with that I come into the peace of my grandmother’s garden.

See also:


The poem at