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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.
The US writer, farmer and environmental activist Wendell Berry is a quintessential voice of the rural American South, with his poetry – very much in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson – often reflecting on the sublime and spiritual facets of nature. In one of his best-known poems, ‘The Peace of Wild Things’ (2012), a narrator, despairing at the state of the human world, finds relief in a journey into nature, being among ‘wild things/who do not tax their lives with forethought/of grief’. Part of an animated poetry series from the radio and podcast programme On Being, this adaptation features Berry himself narrating in a rich, rustic baritone, and lush watercolour imagery from the UK animator Katy Wang and the UK illustrator Charlotte Ager.
Biography and memoir
Meet Haddon Salt – the would-have-been Colonel Sanders of fish and chips
How insects become airborne, slowed down to a speed the human eye can appreciate
Ecology and environmental sciences
Life in one of Canada’s northernmost villages, where the land is sinking into the sea
An artistic collaboration across centuries brings a 1432 battle scene to arresting life
Values and beliefs
A funeral director takes in bodies that social stigma leaves unclaimed
Philosophy of religion
What Zen Buddhist riddles reveal about knowledge and the unknowable
Dance and theatre
Absorb the infectious rhythms of Setapa – a joyous dance from southern Africa
Nature and landscape
Honouring the caribou, in dreams and memories from an Innu singer-songwriter
Revisiting ‘Powers of Ten’ – what we’ve learned about the Universe since 1977