A Favorite Poem

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011

In the previous blog, I mentioned that April is National Poetry Month. Thus, I offer one of my favorite poems by Richard Wilbur. A display of Wilbur’s genius, this poem paints a picture that engages all the senses. The final stanza has C.S. Lewisian tones to add intellectual stimulation to all the affective ones prompted by the poem. Enjoy!

Hamlen Brook By Richard Wilbur

At the alder-darkened brink
Where the stream slows to a lucid jet
I lean to the water, dinting its top with sweat,
And see, before I can drink,

A startled inchling trout
Of spotted near-transparency,
Trawling a shadow solider than he.
He swerves now, darting out

To where, in a flicked slew
Of sparks and glittering silt, he weaves
Through stream-bed rocks, disturbing foundered leaves,
And butts then out of view

Beneath a sliding glass
Crazed by the skimming of a brace
Of burnished dragon-flies across its face,
In which deep cloudlets pass

And a white precipice
Of mirrored birch-trees plunges down
Toward where the azures of the zenith drown.
How shall I drink all this?

Joy’s trick is to supply
Dry lips with what can cool and slake,
Leaving them dumbstruck also with an ache
Nothing can satisfy.

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