Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Having Misidentified A Wild Flower

A thrush, because I'd been wrong,
Burst rightly into song
In a world not vague, not lonely,
Not governed by me only.

Continuing with more short form poetry, Richard Wilbur describes what happened in a moment that he mistakenly misidentified a wild flower.  Like last night's Pound, this poem conveys a specific moment of time and presents it as clearly as possible.  The difference between the two, I think, has to do with scale.  Pound's poem is content to be a somewhat enigmatic, foggy idealization of a moment, whereas Wilbur recognizes a larger world around him.

The thrush's song, as laughter at Wilbur's mistake, reminds Wilbur that this world is not just there for him.  This is not a self-absorbed moment, but one of those rare, wonderful moments that reminds us all of how very big the world is.  The line "not governed by me only" is my favorite, for it really drives home that feeling of being part of something larger.

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