Poetry Sunday: The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur

Every season is a season of change. Each has its own distinctive sights, sounds, scents. 

Autumn, of course, has changing colors as the leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs turn color and fall to the ground. It has the sound of migrating geese passing overhead and the scent of dead vegetable matter slowly turning into compost or, sometimes, of the leaves being burned. One of my neighbors was burning leaves this week. While it is not a good use of Nature's gifts, I have to admit that it presents a lovely scent. 

Richard Wilbur wrote about the beautiful changes in Nature and the changes in the "valleys" of our own minds. 

The Beautiful Changes

by Richard Wilbur

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies 
On water; it glides 
So from the walker, it turns 
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you   
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes. 

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed   
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;   
As a mantis, arranged 
On a green leaf, grows 
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves   
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows. 

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder 
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.


  1. I'm not sure I grasped the full meaning.

    1. Poetry isn't always easy to understand. In the end, the meaning of a poem is whatever it means to the reader. To me, this poem is a straightforward telling of the changes that one can perceive through the seasons and seeing those changes as a metaphor for the changes that occur in us.

  2. Well, I read it out loud to myself and felt a connection, a fleeting connection, a change inside of me. It is indeed beautiful poetry.

    1. Poetry is all about connections. It's good that you felt that.


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