This is my absolute favourite poem. It used to comfort me greatly when I was struggling through the pain of raising two young children by myself, and juggling those responsibilities with a full time job. Now twenty years later, I have significantly more time and less money to juggle, and my children have grown into two wonderful, wacky and compassionate adults. The poem is still wonderful. I now have different fears, now my fears are for my grandchildren and the Wild Things that are struggling themselves with Climate Change and loss of habitat. This poem still has the ability to calm me; to remind me to rest in the grace of the world; to savour that grace and be thankful.
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.
Wendell Berry (Thank you SLOWest Times, March 1, 2011, for printing this poem)