VII

VII

by Wendell Berry

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

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.

Solitude

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

    Weep, and you weep alone;

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

    But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

    Sigh, it is lost on the air;

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

    But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;

    Grieve, and they turn and go;

They want full measure of all your pleasure,

    But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;

    Be sad, and you lose them all,—

There are none to decline your nectared wine,

    But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;

    Fast, and the world goes by.

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,

    But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

    For a large and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on

    Through the narrow aisles of pain.