Poets & Writers

A Poet a Day: Wendell Berry

"The Peace of Wild Things"

A Poet a Day: Wendell Berry

During these trying days of social distancing, self-isolating and quarantines, days rife with fear and anxiety, my colleagues and I thought you might like some company. So each day we will be introducing you to poets we have met over the years. The only contagion they will expose you to is a measure of joy, reflection and meditation brought on by “the best words in the best order.”
— Bill Moyers

To kick off Earth Week, here’s poet and essayist Wendell Berry reading his poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.” The audio reading is courtesy of this week’s program from the public radio show and podcast “On Being with Krista Tippett.”

“The Peace of Wild Things”
By 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.

In 2013, Bill Moyers interviewed Wendell Berry in a special presentation. Watch Bill’s entire 40-minute conversation with Berry.