The Power of Peace

Alan Henning Source:
Alan Henning

The news of the horrific murder of  Alan Henning, the British aid worker who had travelled to Syria to to distribute food and clothing to stricken civilians, begs so many deep and dark questions about the meaning of life and the nature of humanity.

This has to be a moment to pause and think of the fruitlessness of war, the power of peace; the power of talking …..

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me

and I wake in the middle of 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(Wendell Berry)


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

27 thoughts on “The Power of Peace”

    1. Ah Catherine, thanks for writing. I agree that it’s one of those special, special poems. Sometimes, it’s only through nature and poetry that we can even begin to confront the terriblenesses that some people endure.

  1. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful poem (again!) These senseless murders torment me each and ever time I read/hear about them.

  2. “Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.” ~ Baruch Spinoza

    If you follow Spinoza’s thinking, you’ll find he believed peacefulness to be a benefit of freedom. He saw that freedom to be without mind laws, which is so much the business of dogmatic extremism. And since he also believed to best serve oneself, you cannot want to be hurtful to others, as others are the community within which your survival and your happiness can survive. He spent an adult lifetime pursuing a closer understanding of these things, which is the principal business of the free and independently self-reliant mind.

    The not peaceful, the bullies, the dominators who are empowered by deception, and those enslaved by, and even have a delusional sense of happiness in what they have misunderstood, will not easily give up their bondage to such misery–both what they inflict on others around them as well as on themselves. For it is further away from understanding that they move instead of closer to it. And even their reasons for so doing are the fruit of other things they do not, and will not allow themselves to, understand.

    “One of the saddest delusions man has ever conceived of is that oppression of other people is authorized and approved of by the Deity.” (Things I’ve Said Before)

  3. “For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” For a time, being the key words, Jean…My Mom had anxiety soon before she passed and I know it was from all the violence and unrest in the world. Sometimes, I fear that I’m following in her footsteps, but I’m so much younger. My anxiety isn’t that bad, but the world is a very sad place if that is all we focus on…and the feeling of helplessness in an every day manner is almost worse to bear. So “for a time, we rest in the grace of the world, and are free.” Lovely post, Jean…

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