- The Poem: The Peace of the Wild Things
- About the Poet: Wendell Berry
- The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
- Poem Analysis
The peace of the wild things is a poem written by poet Wendell Berry and was first published in 1968 under the title "Openings: Poems". The poem has since been published in several books, including Berry's book, "Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors".
The poem was written in the time when the ecological effects of man's actions were just coming to light. In ther poem, the author explores many layers of man's relationship with nature and its effects. The poem also talks about the differences in the world built by man and by nature - and how man responds to each. It alludes to the stressors that we all feel when we are in the city, living in the hustle and bustle of our routine. And how that feeling changes the moment we take the time to be in nature.
Some call him the modern-day prophet. An American poet deeply in love with nature, Wendell Berry wrote the poem, "The Peace of Wild Things". It remains one of our favorites here at Lifeism. In his lifetime, Berry has written more than 50 books. He lives in Kentucky, United States, and also identifies as a farmer and an environmentalist. This poem and the emotions captured in the words show his love for mother nature.
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 stills 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
While poem and prose mean different things to different people, for us, the meaning of the poem "The Peace of Wild Things" is simple yet lovely. The poem is about finding peace in nature. And how nature has the ability to ground us in the now without worrying us about the future.
When the anxiety and stress of everyday life catch up with the author, all he does is take a break and enjoy some time in nature. He admires its beauty and its disregard for the stresses of tomorrow. He marvels at nature's ability to just be in the now. Under the sky, next to the trees and flowing water the author experiences true freedom.
If we delve deeper into the poem, we also see the environmentalist side of the poet emerge in the lines. He appears to make a subtle comparison between the cities built by man and the world built by nature. A lot of stress, anxiety, and fear are found in man's city, whereas calm, peace, and contentment are found in nature. In some ways, the lines allude to the fact that nature is our true home, better than the one we created - concrete cities.
The poem also explores the irony of the relationship between man and nature. Man continues to physically destroy nature and build cities. But nature, in turn, heals the psychological pains caused by man-made cities. It heals the emotional wounds that man created.
The words in the poem also explore the deep connection of the author with nature. Not just as a farmer and environmentalist, but also a child of nature.
Originally published on the On Being Project, you can now listen to Wendell Berry recite this poem on Sound Cloud. it is truly a gift listening to Wendell Berry recite this poem in his own voice. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Wonderful poem and the explanation too!
what a wild wonderful poem