Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 5, National Poetry Month: April 5, 1974

Photo by Dani Donders, April 12, 2011 on Flickr

Since today is April 5, I thought Richard Wilbur's "April 5, 1974" would be appropriate.

Richard Wilbur, "April 5, 1974"

The air was soft, the ground still cold.
In the dull pasture where I strolled
Was something I could not believe.
Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,
Though still too frozen-flat to stir,
And rocks to twitch, and all to blur.
What was this rippling of the land?
Was matter getting out of hand
And making free with natural law?
I stopped and blinked, and then I saw
A fact as eerie as a dream.
There was a subtle flood of steam
Moving upon the face of things.
It came from standing pools and springs
And what of snow was still around;
It came of winter's giving ground
So that the freeze was coming out,
As when a set mind, blessed by doubt,
Relaxes into mother-wit.
Flowers, I said, will come of it.

Rebecca B. Faery, in The Hollins Critic (copyright 1977 by Hollins College), April, 1977, states that WIlbur's "April 5, 1974" reminds us "that poetry is a powerful weapon in the struggle of order against chaos; also that language will bow to its master, and that the making of poetry is, or always should be, an act which transforms." (p. 15)

This poem must be read and re-read in order to fully unearth the roots of its meaning.

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