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Monday, January 17, 2011

Boy at the Window

(A gathering of snowmen with attached good luck wishes
at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan)

The simple title of this poem gives no hint of the drama about to be revealed.


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.

~ Richard Wilbur, born 1921, American poet and translator


Barbara Sullivan Mangogna said...

I love Richard Wilbur's poetry. He has given us a beautiful image for the day.

GretchenJoanna said...

Oh, I love Wilbur, too, and hadn't seen this poem. So glad I got back to read here while it is still winter!

This reminds me of the wonderful children's video "The Snowman" based on the wordless book, and upon whose theme I sewed, of all things, many quilted potholders.