Sunday, March 21, 2021



Richard Wilbur

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.

1 comment:

  1. 1)may the person whose birthday is memorialized in this way - and those she cares for, and vice versa - be well, happy, and at peace in their search for truth, love, justice, and answers to the four perennial questions facing any potentially sentient being - where did we come from? why are we here? where are we going? what's for lunch?

    2) again i am reminded of the following anecdote about bahaudin naqshband, 1318-1389 c.e.

    A man came to the great teacher Bahaudin and asked for help in his problems, and guidance on the path of the Teaching. Bahaudin told him to abandon spiritual studies and leave his court at once. A kind-hearted man began to remonstrate with Bahaudin. "You shall have a demonstration", said the sage. At that moment a bird flew into the room, darting hither and thither, not knowing where to go in order to escape. The Sufi waited until the bird settled near the only open window of the chamber, and then suddenly clapped his hands. Alarmed, the bird flew straight through the opening of the window, to freedom. Then Bahaudin said: "To the bird that sound must have been something of a shock, even an affront, do you not agree?"

    The Way of the Sufi - Idries Shah