I wrote this originally as a Facebook Note.
A personal hero of mine died yesterday. The great poet Richard Wilbur was 96.
He wrote beautifully, embracing form and tradition to plumb the truth of “the things of this world.” (The title of one of his books of poetry, taken from one of his most famous poems.) He described our world with all the innocence of a faithful eye:
“Gold crosses, cornices, astonishment
Of panes, the turbine-vent which natural law
Spins on the grill-end of the diner’s roof …”
Even something as ordinary as peeled onion became transformed, or rather was seen in a higher light:
“How the shucked tunic of an onion, brushed
To one side on a backlit chopping-board
And rocked by trifling currents, prints and prints
Its bright, ribbed shadow like a flapping sail.”