Poetry Friday: Water

Today the Orthodox church celebrates the Feast of Theophany, also known as Epiphany. It’s a day to remember the baptism of Christ. I entered the church last night and was greeted by literally dozens of lit candles in the dim temple, many of which were floating in large vases of water. Today the priest will bless the waters of a river, and a bunch of men will dive into the cold waters searching for a cross.

(Thanks to Anna at St. Theophan Academy for the photos.)

Water is such a beautiful yet terrible essence: it’s cleansing, refreshing, satisfying, but also powerful and dangerous. I love Kentucky poet Wendell Berry‘s approach to living in close relationship with nature, and in this poem it’s his life that’s chaotic and dangerous, and water that’s calm and cleansing. Enjoy.

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.

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at Teaching Authors.


  1. Mary Lee says:

    I was just thinking yesterday as I looked at the image of a fly fisher fishing in a snowstorm on my Trout Unlimited calendar — I need the peace of a river; I need to go fishing…soon…no matter the weather. I need to leave the cares of the world and just be in nature for a few hours…

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