Richard Wilbur’s Poetry Captures Our Days

Minolta x-370

Last night I read a poem that showed me in a flash why I save evening-time for listening to classical music while I knit, or browsing through an art book, or reading fine poems like this one.

I’ve said in a previous post that I keep a volume of poems by my bed for evening reading. But I hadn’t known why until, with Richard Wilbur’s New and Collected Poems the current volume, I opened last night to his poem “C Minor.”

The poem begins with Wilbur and (presumably) his wife having breakfast while the radio plays something of Beethoven’s. Something passionate and angst-ridden; something typical of the C minor tonality which was Beethoven’s favorite for expressing dark, turbulent moods.

The poet’s wife turns off the radio. He writes: “You are right to switch it off and let the day / Begin at hazard…”

What follows for most of the poem is an account of some typical “hazards”—that is, chance happenings of a day.

The morning’s newspaper will present “sad / Or fortunate news.” Then:

The day’s work will be disappointing or not,
Giving at least some pleasure in taking pains.
One of us, hoeing in the garden plot
(Unless, of course, it rains)
[Read more…]

The Poetry of Married Love

When my husband was told he’d have quadruple bypass surgery the next day, we were—believe it or not—overjoyed.

He’d been feeling lousy for months, and after a zillion tests the docs still couldn’t find the reason. Finally an angiogram the week after Thanksgiving showed major blockages, and we shouted halleluiah!

While he was in the hospital for the bypass surgery and recovery, I of course created an email list to keep friends and family in touch. What a joy to receive back all the good wishes, prayers of support, and offers to help—which I’ve happily taken advantage of. [Read more…]