Peace of Wild Things, The

Program Notes:

The exquisite words of American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer, Wendell Berry are beautifully amplified through this original 2004 composition by Portland-based composer Szymko.

Conductor Notes:

This beautiful work speaks compellingly to choir and audience in the unfolding of Berry’s poem. Since performing it as a massed choir selected at our Tapestry International Celebration of Women’s Choirs in 2012, we have gone on to include this in several concerts and tours. I would not program it where the piano is not in excellent shape, as the rich piano tone lives and supports the tone frequently in the low register.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.





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.