Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

The Peace of Wild Things

Male wood duck, Aix sponsa.
Resized (Click image for a truly larger view in its own window).

Although it is incredibly difficult to choose, this is probably my favorite poem that I’ve ever read.

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

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.

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1998)


  1. #1 Katie
    April 23, 2006

    I saw wood ducks on this expedition through the woods I took just last weekend. I had a wonderful time and a wonderful day. Seing this post and picture brought back wonderful memories for me. Many thanks!

  2. #2 bev
    April 23, 2006

    It’s a lovely poem. This line… “For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free

    relates very much to how and why I live
    as I do.

  3. #3 John
    April 23, 2006

    For a time / I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    I think that line describes my birding experiences very nicely.

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