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.
What a BEAST Wendell Berry is! His poetry is like hot tea on a wintry afternoon. I can only hope some day to have a wikipedia entry that begins as awesomely as his does:
“Wendell Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, shorts stories, poems and essays.”
Man of letters? academic? critic? farmer and prolific author? Is there anything this man can’t do?
Crusader for the family farm, defender of nature, skeptic of technology–in an article for the National Endowment for the Humanities, David Skinner called him “the sum of his beliefs.” Such a simple phrase and yet, how many of us actually are the sum of our beliefs? It is so much more difficult to practice than preach, and more often than not I’m just a head case of hypocrisy. But thank god that, while the rest of us are floundering/striving/questioning, there are folks like Wendell Berry sticking to their guns, guiding the way, and spreading goodness in the worlds, or as he puts it–
“In the dark of the moon, in the flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, the world in danger, I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.”
You can read more about Berry/his poetry here.