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Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005 01:56 pm

American Life in Poetry

Edited by Ted Kooser

Nearly all of us spend too much of our lives thinking about what has happened, or worrying about what’s coming next. Very little can be done about the past and worry is a waste of time. Here the Kentucky poet Wendell Berry gives himself over to nature.
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.
Reprinted from Collected Works (North Point Press, 1985) by permission of the author. Wendell Berry’s most recent book is Given: Poems (Shoemaker and Hoard, 2005). Poem copyright © 1985 by Wendell Berry. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
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