A Comforting Poem
I have been reading a little book I bought for a dollar from the used book shed of the Marfa Public Library, out in West Texas. The title is Earth Prayers, and it was published in 1991. I don’t normally read much poetry, but I have been finding a lot of comfort in this little volume.
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 this 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.
Earth Prayers From Around the World, 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth, Harper San Francisco, 1991, Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, editors.
I have seen the name Wendell Berry but never read anything by him — looking him up, I see that this line about the wild things not taxing their lives with the forethought of grief, is one of his most quoted. I’m not sure where it was originally published but it appears in this collection, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.
That heron photo is wonderful! I have seen a few poems by Berry, mostly in blogs I read. I am not much a reader of poetry but I have found his work to be very accessible and moving.
I read an interesting profile of him, I think on the Poetry Foundation website, and I will be looking out for his books to read more.
Thank you. A lovely way to start a new day.
You’re welcome. I think we all need as much help as we can get these days. 🙂
I love this poem! Thanks for posting.
You are welcome! I thought it captured beautifully what so many of us feel.
I’ve seen his work before and recall that I liked what I had read. I went to find more information. This quote stood out.
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
― Wendell Berry
I read his profile on the Poetry Foundation website, and he looks like a very interesting person. He has been very much in favor of farming, and has been in opposition to both industry and conservationists who view any human intervention as bad, is the impression I got from the quick read I did. I will definitely be looking for his books!