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Best Famous Richard Wilbur Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Richard Wilbur poems. This is a select list of the best famous Richard Wilbur poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Richard Wilbur poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Richard Wilbur poems.

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Written by Richard Wilbur |


 It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,
Save to be thought inoffensive.
The grammar of the language Has never been fathomed, owing to the national habit Of allowing each sentence to trail off in confusion.
Those who have visited Scusi, the capital city, Report that the railway-route from Schuldig passes Through country best described as unrelieved.
Sheep are the national product.
The faint inscription Over the city gates may perhaps be rendered, "I'm afraid you won't find much of interest here.
" Census-reports which give the population As zero are, of course, not to be trusted, Save as reflecting the natives' flustered insistence That they do not count, as well as their modest horror Of letting one's sex be known in so many words.
The uniform grey of the nondescript buildings, the absence Of churches or comfort-stations, have given observers An odd impression of ostentatious meanness, And it must be said of the citizens (muttering by In their ratty sheepskins, shying at cracks in the sidewalk) That they lack the peace of mind of the truly humble.
The tenor of life is careful, even in the stiff Unsmiling carelessness of the border-guards And douaniers, who admit, whenever they can, Not merely the usual carloads of deodorant But gypsies, g-strings, hasheesh, and contraband pigments.
Their complete negligence is reserved, however, For the hoped-for invasion, at which time the happy people (Sniggering, ruddily naked, and shamelessly drunk) Will stun the foe by their overwhelming submission, Corrupt the generals, infiltrate the staff, Usurp the throne, proclaim themselves to be sun-gods, And bring about the collapse of the whole empire.

Written by Richard Wilbur |


 For Alexander there was no Far East,
Because he thought the Asian continent
India ended.
Free Cathay at least Did not contribute to his discontent.
But Newton, who had grasped all space, was more Serene.
To him it seemed that he'd but played With several shells and pebbles on the shore Of that profundity he had not made.
Swiss Einstein with his relativity - Most secure of all.
God does not play dice With the cosmos and its activity.
Religionless equations won't suffice.

Written by Richard Wilbur |


 A ball will bounce; but less and less.
It's not A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.
Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls So in our hearts from brilliance, Settles and is forgot.
It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls To shake our gravity up.
Whee, in the air The balls roll around, wheel on his wheeling hands, Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres Grazing his finger ends, Cling to their courses there, Swinging a small heaven about his ears.
But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all Than the earth regained, and still and sole within The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble He reels that heaven in, Landing it ball by ball, And trades it all for a broom, a plate, a table.
Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom's Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry: The boys stamp, and the girls Shriek, and the drum booms And all come down, and he bows and says good-bye.

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Written by Richard Wilbur |

Wedding Toast

John tells how, at Cana's wedding feast, The water-pots poured wine in such amount That by his sober count There were a hundred gallons at the least.
It made no earthly sense, unless to show How whatsoever love elects to bless Brims to a sweet excess That can without depletion overflow.
Which is to say that what love sees is true; That this world's fullness is not made but found.
Life hungers to abound And pour its plenty out for such as you.
Now, if your loves will lend an ear to mine, I toast you both, good son and dear new daughter.
May you not lack for water, And may that water smack of Cana's wine.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

Praise In Summer

 Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As sometimes summer calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air, I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savour's in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange The world to know it? To a praiseful eye Should it not be enough of fresh and strange That trees grow green, and moles can course in clay, And sparrows sweep the ceiling of our day?

Written by Richard Wilbur |

A Fire-Truck

 Right down the shocked street with a
That sends all else skittering to the
Redness, brass, ladders and hats hurl
 Blurring to sheer verb,

Shift at the corner into uproarious gear
And make it around the turn in a squall
 of traction,
The headlong bell maintaining sure and
 Thought is degraded action!

Beautiful, heavy, unweary, loud,
 obvious thing!
I stand here purged of nuance, my
 mind a blank.
All I was brooding upon has taken wing, And I have you to thank.
As you howl beyond hearing I carry you into my mind, Ladders and brass and all, there to admire Your phoenix-red simplicity, enshrined In that not extinguished fire.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

In a Churchyard

 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 at once the wild supposed bloom, 
Or in the imagined cave 
Some pulse of crystal staving off the gloom
As covertly as phosphorus in a grave.
Void notions proper to a buried head! Beneath these tombstones here Unseenness fills the sockets of the dead, Whatever to their souls may now appear; And who but those unfathomably deaf Who quiet all this ground Could catch, within the ear's diminished clef, A music innocent of time and sound? What do the living hear, then, when the bell Hangs plumb within the tower Of the still church, and still their thoughts compel Pure tollings that intend no mortal hour? As when a ferry for the shore of death Glides looming toward the dock, Her engines cut, her spirits bating breath As the ranked pilings narrow toward the shock, So memory and expectation set Some pulseless clangor free Of circumstance, and charm us to forget This twilight crumbling in the churchyard tree, Those swifts or swallows which do not pertain, Scuffed voices in the drive, That light flicked on behind the vestry pane, Till, unperplexed from all that is alive, It shadows all our thought, balked imminence Of uncommitted sound, And still would tower at the sill of sense Were not, as now, its honeyed abeyance crowned With a mauled boom of summons far more strange Than any stroke unheard, Which breaks again with unimagined range Through all reverberations of the word, Pooling the mystery of things that are, The buzz of prayer said, The scent of grass, the earliest-blooming star, These unseen gravestones, and the darker dead.

Written by Richard Wilbur |


 A woman I have never seen before
Steps from the darkness of her town-house door
At just that crux of time when she is made
So beautiful that she or time must fade.
What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves A phantom heraldry of all the loves Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun Forgets, in his confusion, how to run? Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet Click down the walk that issues in the street, Leaving the stations of her body there Like whips that map the countries of the air.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

Boy at the Window

 Seeing the snowman standing all alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare A night of gnashings and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes Returns him such a God-forsaken stare As outcast Adam gave to paradise.
The man of snow is, nonetheless, content, Having no wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Though frozen water is his element, He melts enough to drop from one soft eye A trickle of the purest rain, a tear For the child at the bright pane surrounded by Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.

Written by Richard Wilbur |


 Piecemeal the summer dies;
At the field's edge a daisy lives alone;
A last shawl of burning lies
On a gray field-stone.
All cries are thin and terse; The field has droned the summer's final mass; A cricket like a dwindled hearse Crawls from the dry grass.

Written 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 with sudden glow;
The leaves are washed in under-light;
Shade lies upon the boughs like snow.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday

 Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark, Who round with grace this dusky arc Of the grand tour which souls must take.
You who have sounded William Blake, And the still pool, to Plato's mark, Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark.
Yet, for your friends' benighted sake, Detain your upward-flying spark; Get us that wish, though like the lark You whet your wings till dawn shall break: Blow out the candles of your cake.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

To the Etruscan Poets

 Dream fluently, still brothers, who when young
Took with your mother's milk the mother tongue,

In which pure matrix, joining world and mind,
You strove to leave some line of verse behind

Like still fresh tracks across a field of snow,
Not reckoning that all could melt and go.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World

 The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded
Hangs for a moment bodiless and
As false dawn.
Outside the open window The morning air is all awash with angels.
Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses, Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing; Now they are flying in place, conveying The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving And staying like white water; and now of a sudden They swoon down in so rapt a quiet That nobody seems to be there.
The soul shrinks From all that it is about to remember, From the punctual rape of every blessed day, And cries, "Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry, Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.
" Yet, as the sun acknowledges With a warm look the world's hunks and colors, The soul descends once more in bitter love To accept the waking body, saying now In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises, "Bring them down from their ruddy gallows; Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves; Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone, And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating Of dark habits, keeping their difficult balance.

Written by Richard Wilbur |

Having Misidentified A Wildflower

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