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Apology by Richard Wilbur

Apology by Richard Wilbur published on No Comments on Apology by Richard Wilbur

A word sticks in the wind’s throat;
A wind-launch drifts in the wells of rye;
Sometimes, in broad silence,
The hanging apples distill their darkness.

You, in a green dress, calling, and with brown hair,
Who come by the field-path now, whose name I say
Softly, forgive me love if also I call you
Wind’s word, apple-heart, haven of grasses.

I love the language here, especially the "wind-launch," with its connotations of air caught in the depths of long grasses. And the apples, "distill[ing] their darkness" — what does that mean? I think of tangy fermentation, cider, fall, secrecy, something somber, witnessing and slightly menacing.

And that enjambment in the second stanze — "whose name I say / Softly " — wow! A word sticks in the speaker’s throat as a word sticks in the wind’s throat. It’s such a regretful poem, a melancholy evocation of thwarted feeling.

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