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The Writer

 In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
I pause in the stairwell, hearing >From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top, And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure, It lifted off from a chair-back, Beating a smooth course for the right window And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten.
I wish What I wished you before, but harder.

by Richard Wilbur
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