After reading "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry, many times,
I knew I needed to memorize it.
I mentioned this poem in an earlier blog post, "When It's Time to Reset."
When Berry spoke of the "wood drake"
I used this photo of a Wood Duck I photographed in a nearby pond.
Wood Duck, drake, Annapolis, Maryland
But I have fallen in love with a new drake: the male African Pygmy Goose.
This drake is the one I imagine now when I recite the poem, and
this quiet water is what I imagine when I reach the line:
"I come into the presence of still water."
African Pygmy Goose, hen and drake, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
I recite the poem near the end of my yoga practice, when I do a series of stretches, each segment of stretch fitting the lines of the poem:
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.
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