Analysis of Richard Wilbur's Poem, Praise in Summer

Topics: Rhyme scheme, Poetry, Sonnet Pages: 1 (314 words) Published: April 18, 2013
This poem is a sonnet with a abab rhyme scheme. Richard Wilbur wrote this poem to characterize aesthetic qualities of nature. "Obscurely yet most surely called to praise, As sometimes summer calls us all, I said The hills are heavens full of branching ways Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead..." A lot of ambiguity is present at first glance . I believe the first few lines should be interpreted literally: the describing of nature during the summer. "Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead; I said the trees are mines in air. I said See how the sparrow burrows in the sky! And then I wondered why this mad instead..." Because I interpreted the poem literally, I assumed moles are present during the summer, so Wilbur does this mention. When the speaker states that trees are like mines in the air, they really are like mines in the air. Mines depict some explosion. The leaves and branches of a tree protrude arbitrarily in the air from its base. The next half of the stanza, the author is criticizing the people who seem so naive, so amazed at nature when they shouldn’t. I think he believes we focus ourselves on things other than nature causing our sight of nature to seem new and surprising when in reality, it should not. The speaker uses italics and questions the reader for effect in order to convey his criticism. We are all surprised that trees grow green, moles burrow, and sparrows fly because we do not see these things often according to my interpretation of the speaker’s argument. Personally, this is true. If I were to see a computer I would not be surprised due to my frequent exposure to it; however, if I were to see a mole burrowing, this would surprise me because obviously I do not see these types of animals often.
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