The Grace of the World

I have been thinking a lot, since yesterday, about the words from Wendell Berry’s poem:  “I rest in the grace of the world and am free.”  I’ve been thinking of it, in particular, as I do some magic around the Paris Climate Conference.

It doesn’t go away, the grace of the world.  That is what the world, and my Bit of Earth, and the Powers, and Spirits, and Beings of This Place, and Hecate, and Columbia, and the mushrooms growing on the soggy ground tell me.

And that, of course, reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ poem, God’s Grandeur:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
And that, of course, reminds me of Peter Grey’s discussion of wolves:
“To understand rewilding, half of the title of this talk, we begin with wolves. Not the last ones in England, extirpated in 1700 about the same time as the last witches were hung, but in Yellowstone National Park in 1994. Here the reintroduction of wolves created a seeming ecological miracle, a trophic cascade which changed the flow of rivers, brought back a diversity of plants and birds and animals. How did this happen? How did an eco-system in crisis undergo such a dramatic volte-face? When wolves were returned to the environment the deer were forced to change their habits as were coyotes, avoiding the blind traps of the river valleys whose plants, trees and shrubs burgeoned and provided further environments for birds, voles, foxes, beavers. The apex predator was shown to be the vital element in biodiversity. Man is the only exception to this rule.”
(I’m more of a cock-eyed optimist then Mr. Grey.)
And my optimism reminds me, of course, of William Wordsworth’s poem:


          DEAR Child of Nature, let them rail!
          --There is a nest in a green dale,
          A harbour and a hold;
          Where thou, a Wife and Friend, shalt see
          Thy own heart-stirring days, and be
          A light to young and old.

          There, healthy as a shepherd boy,
          And treading among flowers of joy
          Which at no season fade,
          Thou, while thy babes around thee cling,                    10
          Shalt show us how divine a thing
          A Woman may be made.

          Thy thoughts and feelings shall not die,
          Nor leave thee, when grey hairs are nigh,
          A melancholy slave;
          But an old age serene and bright,
          And lovely as a Lapland night,
          Shall lead thee to thy grave.


May it be so for you.

2 responses to “The Grace of the World

  1. Thank you!
    There are some words I might have to look up for translation (English is not my mother tongue), but nevertheless the spirit that comes with your postings is beautiful. You light up my day!
    Best regards from Hamburg, Germany,

  2. Claudia, Many thanks! Your English is very good.

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