Richard Wilbur

soaring trees

Your voice, with clear location of June days

Called me outside the window. You were there,

Light yet composed, as in the just soft stare

Of uncontested summer all things raise

Plainly their seeming into seamless air.

Then your love looked as simple and entire

As that picked pear you tossed me, and your face

As legible as pearskin’s fleck and trace,

Which promise always wine, by mottled fire

More fatal fleshed than ever human grace.

And your gay gift – Oh when I saw it fall

Into my hands, through all that naïve light,

It seemed as blessed with truth and new delight

As much have been the first great gift of all.

“June Light” – Richard Wilbur


I always like the line “by mottled fire / More fatal fleshed…”. Wouldn’t it be a good encouragement for a child shy of their freckles? And don’t you enjoy the way the writing echoes both Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Pied Beauty and the rhythms of Shakespeare or Herbert’s poetry?

(I can’t trace the credits for the first photo; the second is mine from an estate garden in Dorset last September.)

One comment

  1. Shirl · October 21, 2015

    Must be a GMH vibe in the air – see @houghhough tweets yesterday re garden studded with stone carved with excerpts from his poems (GMH that is, though I believe SH also writes poetry)


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