Friday, October 09, 2020

Poetry Friday: It's time for "The Writer"

Next week is the anniversary of the death of poet extraordinaire, Richard Wilbur. I miss him. I've shared his poem "The Writer" (one of my all-time-I-will-never-stop-loving-this-poem favorites) more times than I can remember (and you can find all of my Richard Wilbur posts here) but it's time to share it again. (If it's been more than ten minutes, it's time.) 

The Writer

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:

Read the whole poem here, at, or do yourself a genuine favor and listen to Wilbur read it here, at The Internet Poetry Archive.


The Poetry Friday round up today is at Wee Words for Wee Ones. Thanks for hosting, Bridget! 


Bridget Magee said...

Somehow I've missed your previous introductions to The Writer and Richard Wilbur, Karen. So glad that I connected with you and this poem: "clearing the sill of the world" - yes! :)

elli said...

Oh! I remember this one! Really lovely, so evocative ...

Karen, I love your Poetry Friday posts :-)

jama said...

I, too, cannot read this poem enough. Love it! It also brings back a poignant memory of when I first shared it on my own blog -- I was in Hawaii visiting my parents and used my dad's computer. :)

Fran Haley said...

I find myself sharing and re-sharing the things which strike deepest, too. These line are profound, poignant, true ... meant for rereading many times over and taking to heart. Those last lines, "life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy" - that's so often why we write.

Ruth said...

That really is an amazing poem.

Linda B said...

I take so many things from this, Karen. Perhaps every time we read it, he gives us something new? This time, I love "the stuff/Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:/I wish her a lucky passage." My (our?) wish for all the children, especially during this time! Thank you!

Karen Edmisten said...

Bridget, I'm happy to connect you to Richard Wilbur today! :)
Penelope, thank you. Of course, I think Poetry Friday posts are pretty much all I do these days! Someday maybe I'll actually blog again? :)
Jama, what a sweet memory!
Fran, yes, I love those lines, too.
Ruth, yes, I'll never stop mining its depths.
Linda, I agree — something new with every read. And, "I wish what I wished you before, but harder."

Carol Varsalona said...

Karen, I took your advice and listen to Richard Wilbur read his poem out loud. Then, reread it myself. There is such remembrance in his voice and that wish is a profound one for all parents. Thanks for the reading tonight.

mbhmaine said...

I remember reading this on your site before, and am so glad you posted it again. As you said, it's a poem that can't be shared too much. So rich and rewarding to read. Thank you.

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

This is the first time I've read this poem. Thank you for sharing, Karen. It's lovely.

Sally Murphy said...

'I wish her a lucky passage'.
What a beautiful poem, Karen. thanks for sharing.

Karen Eastlund said...

Karen: I have loved this poem also, but had forgotten it and certainly had no idea who had written it, so thank you for sharing. It reminds me of my granddaughter's blog. She is 13, and the weight of life is definitely upon her.

Karen Edmisten said...

Carol, I'm so glad you listened to his reading and yes, such a profound wish.
Molly, thanks for rereading! :)
Kimberly and Sally, I'm so happy to introduce you to this one!
Karen, I wish your granddaughter a lucky passage. :)