Tuesday, March 21, 2023



Two weeks from today we'll be with her and my beloved son-in-law in Michigan



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. this poem by Richard Wilbur always reminds me of this story from The Way of the Sufi by Idries Shah

    Why I Did That

    One day a man came to the great teacher Bahaudin. He asked for help in his problems, and guidance on the path of the Teaching. Bahaudin told him to abandon spiritual studies, and to leave his court at once. A kind-hearted visitor 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. "To him that sound must have been something of a shock, even an affront, do you not agree?" said Bahaudin.

    and also this fromThe Portable Dragon

    Lin Yutang quote: To open the window and let a wasp out of the room. Ah, is this not happiness?

    Source: Chin's Thirty-three Happy Moments, p. 135 - The Importance of Living (1937)