In celebration of National Poetry Month the Jasper Project invited several artists, writers, and leaders in the Columbia arts community to share with us their favorite poems and most of them generously accepted.
We’ve put together this collection of our favorite poems and will be sharing them with you, poem by poem, day by day, over the month of April. Some of the poems are old and traditional, others are new and inventive. Some are whimsical, others are insightful. Some rhyme. Some don’t.
What they all have in common is that someone you know loves that poem – and this gives us such lovely insight into the soul of our community.
Thank you to everyone who shared their poetry with us.
And Happy National Poetry Month from Jasper.
Today we're featuring Nicola Waldron's favorite poem by Wendell Berry--
I think of this poem as the anti-panic. Berry reminds us that the natural world offers us confirmation of the constant existence of uncomplicated beauty and a model of the power of slowing down. When I feel overwhelmed, I can read this and feel as if I’ve actually been out in nature. If you read this aloud, it will actually help you breathe. Try it!
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.
Nicola Waldron is a writer-mother-teacher and would-be hermit, who tries to operate out in the human world as a bold truth-speaker, while maintaining an internal, prayerful kind of howling.