Wednesday 28 February 2018

Wilbur's Snowman

Richard Wilbur, who sadly died last October, would have been 97 today.
Here's a poem of his that suits a snowy day. In other hands, this one would easily slip into sentimentality, but Wilbur's control of form and tone, his precise weighting of every word, ensures that never happens – and, as so often with Wilbur's poems, the last line delivers a sharp transforming sting...

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 tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear. 

1 comment:

  1. Whoops! That was supposed to go up tomorrow. I woke up convinced it was March 1st today...