“The Peace of Wild Things” is a very moving and relaxing poem that tells of a person who seeks comfort and rejuvenation by finding solace in nature.The wild things are anything from animals and plants to the geographic places they inhabit.The wild things, for all their unpredictability and savagery are not troubled with “despair for the world”.Man, in all his knowledge and advancement cannot escape the claws of despair without returning to the most basic roots of life; the wild things.This poem should be read as instructions or rather a guide to the most valuable personal achievement which is a sense of freedom from the cares and stresses of the entanglements of “living”.
The first two lines set the scene of the poem and give the reader a very relatable feeling or image.“When despair for the world grows in me/and I wake in the night at the least sound” describes a person in the thralls of light sleep, thinking about situation the world is in, waking to the smallest sound or disturbance.This gets the reader in the right mindset to be able to inhabit the lines which follow as it connects the feeling the writer is trying to convey with the reader’s personal experience.Because most people have probably had this feeling of unrest or troubled mindedness in the night the poem allows for immediate connection to what is being conveyed. The third line offers insight as to what the core of the disturbance and unrest of the character is.This line continues to tie the reader even closer to the content especially if they are a parent.“In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,” is something that all parents go through.This line is not limited to parents or adults only as it deals with generativity, societal contributions and the direction of the future that has been curated by the actions of generations past and present.Being in fear of what one’s children’s lives may be from a parent’s point of view is a combination of responsibility for how they were raised and how the world will influence them. The fourth and fifth lines switch the depressing and dark tone of the first few lines to a tone of tranquility and beauty.“I go and lie down where the wood drake/rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.”The relief that this tone change brings completes the enrapturing of the reader in the poem by taking them to this dream-like place in nature where all stress and despair seem to vanish.This switch is the most important part of the poem as it changes the point of appeal.The beginning lines appeal to the reader in an almost commiserating way and focus on preparing the reader for the solution to the despair they feel.At lines four and five the solution is introduced as a distraction in the form of seeking peace from nature.Later in the final line it is revealed that this distraction is a temporary escape to what is being sought. The sixth line furthers this feeling with its use of the phrase wild things.“I come into the peace of wild things”.The writer’s choice to use this specific phrase for nature is particularly important to the purpose of the poem.Referring to nature and its inhabitance as “wild things” invokes imagination in the mind of the reader.The phraseology “wild things” has a fantasy quality to its sound and is not a grounded or clear description of to what it is referencing.This enriches the preceding lines that began the shift into the more beautiful and lighthearted language that will continue to the poem’s conclusion. The seventh and eighth line tells why the wild things offer peace.“Who do not tax their lives with forethought/of grief.I come to the presence of still waters.”Line seven reflects how the wild things in their simplicity are not troubled with despair for the world.This offers peace to the one in the presence of wild things and for a short time they too are as the wild things, simple and peaceful.Line eight enlightens the reader with the image of still water that is the ultimate analogy for peace.There is