Richard Wilbur
Worlds by Richard Wilbur

Worlds by Richard Wilbur

For Alexander there was no Far East,Because he thought the Asian continentIndia ended. Free Cathay at leastDid not contribute to his discontent.But Newton, who had grasped all ...

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A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur

A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur

for Rene MagritteThe carpenter's made a holeIn the parlor floor, and I'm standingStaring down into it nowAt four o'clock in the evening,As Schliemann stood when his shovelKnocked ...

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A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur

A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur

for Dore and AdjaUnder the bronze crown Too big for the head of the stone cherub whose feet A serpent has begun to eat, Sweet water brims a cockle and braids down ...

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Year’s End by Richard Wilbur

Year’s End by Richard Wilbur

Now winter downs the dying of the year, And night is all a settlement of snow;From the soft street the rooms of houses show A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere, Like ...

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A Fable by Richard Wilbur

A Fable by Richard Wilbur

Securely sunning in a forest glade, A mild, well-meaning snakeApproved the adaptations he had madeFor safety’s sake.He liked the skin he had—Its mottled camouflage, its look of ...

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A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur

A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur

Right down the shocked street with a siren-blastThat sends all else skittering to the ...

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A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur

A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boomOf an owl's voice into her darkened room,We tell the wakened child that all she heardWas an odd question from a forest bird,Asking of ...

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In A Churchyard by Richard Wilbur

In A Churchyard by Richard Wilbur

That flower unseen, that gem of purest ray, Bright thoughts uncut by men: Strange that you need but speak them, Thomas Gray, And the mind skips and dives beyond its ken, Finding ...

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A World Without Objects Is A Sensible Emptiness by Richard Wilbur

A World Without Objects Is A Sensible Emptiness by Richard Wilbur

The tall camels of the spiritSteer for their deserts, passing the last groves loudWith the sawmill shrill of the locust, to the whole honey of the aridSun. They are slow, ...

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Advice To A Prophet by Richard Wilbur

Advice To A Prophet by Richard Wilbur

When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,Not proclaiming our fall but begging usIn God's name to have self-pity,Spare us all ...

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Parable by Richard Wilbur

Parable by Richard Wilbur

I read how Quixote in his random rideCame to a crossing once, and lest he loseThe purity of chance, would not decideWhither to fare, but wished his horse to choose.For glory lay ...

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Epistemology by Richard Wilbur

Epistemology by Richard Wilbur

I.Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones: But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones. II.We milk the cow of the world, and as we doWe whisper in her ear, 'You are not ...

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Wedding Toast by Richard Wilbur

Wedding Toast by Richard Wilbur

St. John tells how, at Cana's wedding feast,The water-pots poured wine in such amountThat by his sober countThere were a hundred gallons at the least.It made no earthly sense, ...

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The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur

The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sidesThe Queen Anne's Lace lying like liliesOn water; it glides So from the walker, it turnsDry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of ...

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Museum Piece by Richard Wilbur

Museum Piece by Richard Wilbur

The good gray guardians of artPatrol the halls on spongy shoes,Impartially protective, thoughPerhaps suspicious of Toulouse.Here dozes one against the wall,Disposed upon a funeral ...

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The Writer by Richard Wilbur

The Writer by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the houseWhere light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,My daughter is writing a story.I pause in the stairwell, hearingFrom her shut door a ...

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Juggler by Richard Wilbur

Juggler by Richard Wilbur

A ball will bounce; but less and less. It's notA light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.Falling is what it loves, and the earth fallsSo in our hearts from brilliance, ...

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Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World by Richard Wilbur

Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World by Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,And spirited from sleep, the astounded soulHangs for a moment bodiless and ...

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A Fable by Richard Wilbur

A Fable by Richard Wilbur

Securely sunning in a forest glade, A mild, well-meaning snakeApproved the adaptations he had madeFor safety’s sake.He liked the skin he had—Its mottled camouflage, its look of ...

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A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur

A Fire-Truck by Richard Wilbur

Right down the shocked street with a siren-blastThat sends all else skittering to the ...

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March 26, 1974 by Richard Wilbur

March 26, 1974 by Richard Wilbur

R.Frost 100th B'dayThe air was soft, the ground still cold.In wet dull pastures where I strolledWas something I could not believe.Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,Though ...

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For K.R. On Her Sixtieth Birthday by Richard Wilbur

For K.R. On Her Sixtieth Birthday by Richard Wilbur

Blow out the candles of your cake.They will not leave you in the dark,Who round with grace this dusky arcOf the grand tour which souls must take.You who have sounded William ...

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Matthew Viii,28 Ff. by Richard Wilbur

Matthew Viii,28 Ff. by Richard Wilbur

Rabbi, we GadarenesAre not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.Love, as You call it, we obviate by meansOf the planned release of aggressions.We have deep faith in ...

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Orchard Trees, January by Richard Wilbur

Orchard Trees, January by Richard Wilbur

It's not the case, though some might wish it soWho from a window watch the blizzard blowWhite riot through their branches vague and stark,That they keep snug beneath their pelted ...

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Year’s End by Richard Wilbur

Year’s End by Richard Wilbur

Now winter downs the dying of the year, And night is all a settlement of snow;From the soft street the rooms of houses show A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere, Like ...

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The Ride by Richard Wilbur

The Ride by Richard Wilbur

The horse beneath me seemed To know what course to steer Through the horror of snow I dreamed,And so I had no fear,Nor was I chilled to death By the wind’s white shudders, thanks ...

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Puritans by Richard Wilbur

Puritans by Richard Wilbur

Sidling upon the river, the white boatHas volleyed with its cannon all the morning,Shaken the shore towns like a Judgment warning,Telling the palsied water its demandThat the ...

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Riddle by Richard Wilbur

Riddle by Richard Wilbur

Where far in forest I am laid,In a place ringed around by stones,Look for no melancholy shade,And have no thoughts of buried bones;For I am bodiless and bright,And fill this glade ...

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The Prisoner Of Zenda by Richard Wilbur

The Prisoner Of Zenda by Richard Wilbur

At the end a"The Prisoner of Zenda,"The King being out of danger,Stewart Granger(As Rudolph Rassendyll)Must swallow a bitter pillBy renouncing his co-star,Deborah Kerr.It would be ...

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Shame by Richard Wilbur

Shame by Richard Wilbur

It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,Save to be thought inoffensive. The grammar of the languageHas never been fathomed, owing to the national habitOf allowing each ...

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Transit by Richard Wilbur

Transit by Richard Wilbur

A woman I have never seen beforeSteps from the darkness of her town-house doorAt just that crux of time when she is madeSo beautiful that she or time must fade.What use to claim ...

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June Light by Richard Wilbur

June Light by Richard Wilbur

Your voice, with clear location of June days,Called me outside the window.You were there,Light yet composed, as in the just soft stareOf uncontested summer all things raisePlainly ...

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Praise In Summer by Richard Wilbur

Praise In Summer by Richard Wilbur

Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,As sometimes summer calls us all, I saidThe hills are heavens full of branching waysWhere star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;I said ...

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A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur

A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur

for Rene MagritteThe carpenter's made a holeIn the parlor floor, and I'm standingStaring down into it nowAt four o'clock in the evening,As Schliemann stood when his shovelKnocked ...

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For C. by Richard Wilbur

For C. by Richard Wilbur

After the clash of elevator gates And the long sinking, she emerges where, A slight thing in the morning's crosstown glare, She looks up toward the window where he waits, Then in ...

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In The Smoking Car by Richard Wilbur

In The Smoking Car by Richard Wilbur

The eyelids meet. He'll catch a little nap. The grizzled, crew-cut head drops to his chest. It shakes above the briefcase on his lap. Close voices breathe, "Poor sweet, he did his ...

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The House by Richard Wilbur

The House by Richard Wilbur

Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyesFor a last look at that white house she knewIn sleep alone, and held no title to,And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.What did ...

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Exeunt by Richard Wilbur

Exeunt by Richard Wilbur

Piecemeal the summer dies;At the field's edge a daisy lives alone;A last shawl of burning liesOn a gray field-stone.All cries are thin and terse;The field has droned the summer's ...

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The Death Of A Toad by Richard Wilbur

The Death Of A Toad by Richard Wilbur

A toad the power mower caught,Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade ...

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Worlds by Richard Wilbur

Worlds by Richard Wilbur

For Alexander there was no Far East,Because he thought the Asian continentIndia ended. Free Cathay at leastDid not contribute to his discontent.But Newton, who had grasped all ...

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Two Voices In A Meadow by Richard Wilbur

Two Voices In A Meadow by Richard Wilbur

A MilkweedAnonymous as cherubs Over the crib of God, White seeds are floating Out of my burst pod. What power had I Before I learned to yield? Shatter me, great wind: I shall ...

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To The Etruscan Poets by Richard Wilbur

To The Etruscan Poets by Richard Wilbur

Dream fluently, still brothers, who when youngTook with your mother's milk the mother tongue,In which pure matrix, joining world and mind,You strove to leave some line of verse ...

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Having Misidentified A Wild-Flower by Richard Wilbur

Having Misidentified A Wild-Flower by Richard Wilbur

A thrush, because I'd been wrong,Burst rightly into songIn a world not vague, not lonely,Not governed by me only.

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The Riddle by Richard Wilbur

The Riddle by Richard Wilbur

Shall I love God for causing me to be?I was mere utterance; shall these words love me?Yet when I caused His work to jar and stammer,And one free subject loosened all His grammar,I ...

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A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur

A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur

for Dore and AdjaUnder the bronze crown Too big for the head of the stone cherub whose feet A serpent has begun to eat, Sweet water brims a cockle and braids down ...

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A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur

A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boomOf an owl's voice into her darkened room,We tell the wakened child that all she heardWas an odd question from a forest bird,Asking of ...

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Lying by Richard Wilbur

Lying by Richard Wilbur

To claim, at a dead party, to have spotted a grackle, When in fact you haven't of late, can do no harm. Your reputation for saying things of interest Will not be marred, if you ...

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After the Last Bulletins by Richard Wilbur

After the Last Bulletins by Richard Wilbur

After the last bulletins the windows darken And the whole city founders readily and deep, Sliding on all its pillows To the thronged Atlantis of personal sleep, And the wind ...

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Looking into History by Richard Wilbur

Looking into History by Richard Wilbur

Five soldiers fixed by Mathew Brady's eye Stand in a land subdued beyond belief. Belief might lend them life again. I try Like orphaned Hamlet working up his grief To see my ...

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Junk by Richard Wilbur

Junk by Richard Wilbur

Huru Welandes worc ne geswice?? monna ?nigum ?ara ?e Mimming can heardne gehealdan. —WaldereAn axe angles from my neighbor's ashcan; It is hell's ...

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