Richard Purdy Wilbur is an American poet and literary translator. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987, and twice received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1957 and again in 1989.
Wilbur was born in New York City and grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1938, having worked on the school newspaper as a student there. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942 and then served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. After the Army and graduate school at Harvard University, Wilbur taught at Wesleyan University ... more »
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Richard Wilbur Poems
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.
Securely sunning in a forest glade, A mild, well-meaning snake Approved the adaptations he had made For safety’s sake.
Love Calls Us To The Things Of This Worl...
The eyes open to a cry of pulleys, And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul Hangs for a moment bodiless and
The Beautiful Changes
One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides The Queen Anne's Lace lying like lilies On water; it glides So from the walker, it turns
Advice To A Prophet
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 us In God's name to have self-pity,
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.
Right down the shocked street with a siren-blast That sends all else skittering to the curb,
I read how Quixote in his random ride Came to a crossing once, and lest he lose The purity of chance, would not decide
A World Without Objects Is A Sensible Em...
The tall camels of the spirit Steer for their deserts, passing the last groves loud With the sawmill shrill of the locust, to the whole honey of the arid
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,
St. 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.
A Hole In The Floor
for Rene Magritte The carpenter's made a hole In the parlor floor, and I'm standing
I. Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones: But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones.
March 26, 1974
R.Frost 100th B'day The air was soft, the ground still cold. In wet dull pastures where I strolled
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 ...