I recently saw a rerun of an ER episode where Alan Alda was playing the part of a doctor who was in early onset of Alzheimer's disease. He recited a poem he had learned as a young boy, and I believe he said it was a William Blake poem, however, I cannot find anything that matches the words he recited. All I remember is that it had something to do with animals and how the animals didn't get caught up in the pettiness of life...Etc...... anyway, if anyone knows what I'm talking about or better yet remembers the episode, could you e-mail me with the title of the poem, William Blake or not? Thank you so much.
"THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS"
by Wendell Berry
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.
Walt Whitman's 'I think I could turn and live with animals ' is on a similar theme.
"I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God.
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole world."
Thank you so much for your response. What a wonderful website. It is sites like this that remind me that new technology can be a good thing. Your suggestion about Walt Whitman's poem was very close in theme indeed, but "Glenda" also responded (you can see her reply to my inquiry on the General Discussion site) and had the poem that I was searching for. It is entitled "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry. This was indeed the same poem read on the episode of ER. Thank you so much for your response also, as I love the piece you replied with also.
Peter C. Smith
Thank you so much. You have helped me more than I could ever explain. Why I had William Blake in my head I can only guess. (maybe due to the same initials of the authors?) This poem truly speaks to me, and I am glad there are websites with people like you who are willing to share their knowledge and love of the art of poetry. Thank you so much!
Peter C. Smith
You are very welcome. I posted this same poem for someone a few weeks back and gave the author as Blake. Fortunately, someone corrected it for me. Why don't you stick around at this site? There are lots of nice people here.
This is for Peter. I just saw the episode of ER you mentioned and also fell in love with the poem. The reason you thought he said William Blake was because he did!! I have been searching for it all morning on all of William Blake's web sites. How remarkable I was able to find this site and the true author. How could they make such a mistake??? Anyway..thank you all. It is a beautiful poem.
As an aside, there was a Department Store on Long Island in the 60's called Billy Blakes
Tracy, regarding this statement:
How could they make such a mistake???
I could be snide and say: "It's sloppy research."
But more likely, it's just that they're human and missed one.
On a tangent to this many of us would like to forget Blake entirely.
Not me, but that's just me !
It could also be that since the character has Alzheimer's, he's making a mistake.
Hi, i just joined this site purely to respond to this message.
I initially came across a couple of abridged lines of this poem on a memorial plaque on a donated bench at the Wildfowl & Wetlands centre at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and found the words touching enough to copy the plaque in my sketchbook, though i had no idea where they were from or who had written them.
By strange coincidence, a fortnight or so later i bought the ER season 6 DVDs, and upon watching that episode recognised the lines with a 'Hey...wait a minute...'
I was surprised to hear it was a Blake poem, but didn't check up on it for a few days until my sister happened to hand me back my A level English notes that she'd borrowed- most prominent among them loads of stuff on Blake's Songs of Innocence & Experience. Now I was fairly sure the poem wasn't in there, or i'd've remembered it, but i had a look anyway. Eventually, like Peter and Tracy above, i began scouring Blake sites online, obviously with no luck, until eventually coming across this thread by searching 'peace of wild things blake' on google.
So here i am, and thanks very much to those who posted this ace, touching poem that makes me sad yet smile uncontrollably.
I know chances are none of you will ever read this, but i definitely had to tell someone. And i guess, as several people have already had the same experience and followed the same line of thought & inquiry, someone else will probably come across this thread in exactly the same way. And if not, i guess this'll just remain as one of those nice little things that exist out in the graveyard of old web content.
I'm still here (I used to be JohnnySansCulo)
wow has it been 4 years since last this thread was accessed til now?
Les is against Blake
I am against Les
I'm still here, too - used to be Marian 2. Nice to see those 2 poems again up at the top of the thread after 4 years. I'm for Blake, Les and Johnny, and poetry in general.
I am for Marian 222, who was brave enough to multiply her number by 111 and maybe get the government to tell the truth about 1/11
Cheers, Johnny - but the government haven't even told me lies about 1/11, let alone the truth - we don't really speak!
So happy to hear Marian2 as Marian222 back here.
I haven't really been away - just too busy to post myself, and not many posts have come in that I wanted to comment on.
It is incredible that this post was started in 2002, and here we are - August 2010 and I was seeking out the same poem heard in the same episode of E.R. via re-runs! I'm just flabbergasted! smile But they DID attribute the poem to the wrong author in the script - too bad for that, but thank goodness I found it here! I dunno...it just really touched me. And to think it was written so long ago...Blake died in 1827...183 years ago...that is mind numbing!
Anyway, I registered for this site just to say thank-you! :-)
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I aslo saw it on DVD and it caused me to sign up here!!!
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