A Poem for a Thursday #19

Photo by David Klein on Unsplash
Richard Wilbur served in WWII, attended Harvard University, and then taught at Harvard, Wellesley Wesleyan University, and Smith College. He was the U.S. poet laureate in 1987 and 1988. I like anything about words and writing and I think this poem about his daughter writing a story is beautiful.

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. 

The Writer
Richard Wilbur

Visit Brona's Books and Pastry & Purls for more poems.


  1. That's a lovely choice. I've really been enjoying your series. Thanks!

    1. I am glad you are enjoying it. I am definitely enjoying expanding my horizons and reading more poetry.

  2. I love the light through the window line that linked it oh so nicely to my poem from last week :-)

    1. I had to go back and reread your post. They do link together nicely.