Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Richard Wilbur turns 90

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Wilbur turned 90 on Tuesday.

He didn't want a party, according Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring professor in Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College. But Wilbur's colleagues and friends wanted to pay tribute, he told the Republican of Amherst.

Wilbur is a former US poet laureate whose status has been compared to that of Elizabeth Bishop.

Boy at the Window by Richard Wilbur

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. I liked that one. "Bitumen eyes"--great choice of words.

  2. I've never read anything by Wilbur. This poem is very fitting for the season right now.

  3. cool Daisy - I haven't read much by him either, Hannah