Memorizing The Peace of Wild Things

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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