Richard Wilbur

(March 1, 1921)

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

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


Submitted by Robert Fish


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

  • (9/27/2012 9:04:00 PM)


    the sould shrinks from all that it is about to remember, from the punctual rape of every blessed day... This is the reality of living in the real world But I feel as if I have been given a reprieve, a stay of execution when I come to Bring them down from their ruddy gallows. and I feel lke the only mistake made in this poem is a missing exclamation mark. It is a divine and generous impulse here that wishes to absolve us in this poem. I feel blessed every time I read or recall it. (Report) Reply

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  • (6/5/2009 9:47:00 AM)


    I like this poem alot. It gave me the feeling ofr coming together as one with the world (Report) Reply

  • (12/13/2006 9:48:00 AM)


    What a metaphor: redemption and purification through laundry! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: rape, fish, remember, together, water, sleep, joy, heaven, dark, world, sun, rose, fishing, angel, change, dance



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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