Thursday, June 5, 2014

Poetry Friday: Worriers, Wood Drakes and Wendell Berry

Wood Drake at the Bronx Zoo

I seem to worry more than I used to. Does it come on stronger - this capacity for worry - as we age? That's counter-intuitive - we should have a more relaxed attitude and a little less to worry about, the older we get, no? Shouldn't the ability to say "I'm sure it will be fine" get easier?

Yesterday my friend Laura sent me this poem by Wendell Berry.  It's a good poem for worriers. I'll save it for a rainy day or - much better - memorize it and say it each night, like a prayer.

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 

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted at Carol's Corner. Head over there to see what other people have posted. 


  1. I don't know the answer to your question,'s something that I struggle with, too. What a gift this Wendell Berry poem is and a terrific reminder of the comforting effect of nature.

  2. I've been in worrying mode lately too- worrying about my sons, worrying about selling a house, worrying about the zillion things that happen at the end of school. Thanks for this important reminder! I'm going to print it out and hang it at home and school!

  3. It's a beautiful poem, Julie, saying clearly "look around, why are you worrying with all this beauty?" I love "I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." and the line of coming to the still water. I hope you can figure out a plan for not-worrying. Sometimes good words, like this poem, really do help.

  4. The worrier in me thanks you, Julie... you and Wendell Berry.

  5. This is just to say that I have been here and read your words, but surgery on both thumbs last Tuesday prevents me from typing a personalized comment. Forgive me -- copy/paste is the best I can do this week! :-)

  6. Julie, this is one of my favorite of Berry's. It's just perfect. Thanks for this today.

  7. Wonderful Berry. I love his relaxed and reassuring perspective. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and comforting poem.

  8. Wow, I needed that one, Julie. Really beautiful. It reminds me of Whitman's "I think I could turn and live with animals / they are so placid and self contained." I love that verse. Ahhhhhh.

  9. This is one of my favorites, too! My all time favorite Berry poem is "What We Need Is Here."

  10. I'm so glad to hear this poem resonated with all of you! Berry is just a perfect poet to read when you want to remember how to stay centered and calm. Here's another beauty: