Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Peace of Wild Things - 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.

 ‘The Peace of Wild Things’, Wendell Berry


Katherine Mansfield once wrote 'the mind that I love must have wild places'.   I feel like that too - the need for solitude and the wild (both inside and outside). Christmas is a time when solitude can seem very hard to find! 

Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips's claims that  'cultivating a capacity for "fertile solitude" is essential for creative work' 

The poet Wendell Berry, in a series of essays called 'What are People for?'  talks about  'the ennobling effects of solitude . . . gained only by surrendering to nature's gentle gift for quieting the mind:

“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness...  True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.'

If you'd like to read more - there are two marvellous blogs on the subject with more of Berry's work.  One is at 'How the Light Gets In' 
The other is 'Brain Pickings Weekly'  'Wendell Berry on Solitude' 

For more Tuesday Poems from around the world, please visit the Tuesday Poem Hub where this week's main post is Emily Bronte 'No Coward Soul is Mine' - a poet who really knew about solitude. 

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