The Want of Peace

The Want of Peace
by Wendell Berry

All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman’s silence
receiving the river’s grace,
the gardener’s musing on rows.

I lack the peace of simple things.
I am never wholly in place.
I find no peace or grace.
We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness
and wish for the dumb life of roots.

Inspired by this great post by Natalie on Sacred Touches


16 comments on “The Want of Peace

  1. Jeff says:

    #676. Beware the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a good poem. I visited Sacred Touches and have bookmarked. I’ll want to return. Happy Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I’m not sure I get exactly what it means and poetry seems to touch people in different places. I’m convinced it designed to do that. For me the poem brought to mind the peaceful feelings I get when in the garden. The smell of the earth, the sounds of the birds, even the passing cars bring me peace and contentment that no other place can bring. Satisfaction and accomplishment in life can not come from hustle and bustle but can only come from the quiet place where nature and man/woman connect.

    Many people I know today feel uncomfortable without noise. During their waking hours the TV, radio, or music must be playing in the background just for the sake of noise. Being quiet with their thoughts is a non productive waste of time. It’s sad to think that we have become a society of busy unhappy people.

    Have a great homestead peaceful day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      The gardener’s musing on rows. I like that too.

      I know what you mean about addiction to noise. I know people who keep their TVs on at all times. When I go visit them I find it very difficult to have a conversation, but they’re so used to it that it doesn’t seem to bother them at all. But why drive out the beautiful sounds, and the sound of silence, with noise? I’m with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it is all too easy to get lost in the insanity that surrounds us and forget the pleasure that a simple walk in the woods can bring. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The peace of simple things. Yup. Some have this, and some do not. Timely poem for life around here. Thanks.


    • Bill says:

      It’s a poem that resonates for many of us living in this hurried world. I posted it on the Wendell Berry Society Facebook page (yes, I do appreciate the irony of that) and so far it has 93 likes and 26 shares.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    This is truly deep prose, on so many levels. Read it three times and each time a totally different aspect comes to mind…
    Thanks for sharing.


  7. I love Wendell Berry! Thanks for sharing this. Blessings, Natalie 🙂


  8. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It was just the right thing to stop me in my tracks and make me reflect on what really matters to me in this life.


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