Sunday, May 13, 2007

Poetry Sunday

My sister-in-law's laundry

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.

Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
The soul shrinks

From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every bless├Ęd day,
And cries,
“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,
“Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
keeping their difficult balance.”


sharon said...

I really enjoy visiting your site...

There is a whole generation of people who do not know the heavenly smell of sheets dried in the wind and sun - one of the best memories of my childhood.
Sharon (ISBN)

P.S. Your photos of spring flowers are lovely and reminded me of a garden I saw a few days ago - a mass of red/orange Oriental poppies with blue/purple Siberian Iris interspersed. Exquisite!

Sherry said...

Thank you! The picture is from my sister-in-law's house. She does all those things I remember from when I was little. She hangs out her wash, like Mom did, and she has a big vegetable garden. These days I don't even have an outdoor clothesline. I do enjoy my flowers, though.