The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
The World Ending Fire by Wendell Berry
The Peace of Wild Things
Though not a well-known poet on this side of the Atlantic, this new selected edition of the works of Wendell Berry should go some way to correcting that oversight. Here are poems deeply rooted in the natural world, in place, in a sense of spiritual calm and reflection. Berry’s work draws on Henry David Thoreau, particularly in his Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, which invokes the spirit of American liberalism: “As soon as the generals and the politicos / can predict the motions of your mind, / lose it.” But most often, in lyrics such as March Snow and the titular poem, Berry moves gently, calmly, giving an intimate attention to nature that is sometimes transcendent (as in the work of his contemporary, Mary Oliver), and other times conscious of its political responsibilities in a world of climatic change. These are rural poems, poems of the farm and field, but they are also mantras for peace and redemption, invitations to be sensory, attentive, to “Go without sight, / and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings”.