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Richard Wilbur - A Hole In The Floor

for Rene Magritte

The carpenter's made a hole
In the parlor floor, and I'm standing
Staring down into it now
At four o'clock in the evening,
As Schliemann stood when his shovel
Knocked on the crowns of Troy.

A clean-cut sawdust sparkles
On the grey, shaggy laths,
And here is a cluster of shavings
>From the time when the floor was laid.
They are silvery-gold, the color
Of Hesperian apple-parings.

Kneeling, I look in under
Where the joists go into hiding.
A pure street, faintly littered
With bits and strokes of light,
Enters the long darkness
Where its parallels will meet.

The radiator-pipe
Rises in middle distance
Like a shuttered kiosk, standing
Where the only news is night.
Here's it's not painted green,
As it is in the visible world.

For God's sake, what am I after?
Some treasure, or tiny garden?
Or that untrodden place,
The house's very soul,
Where time has stored our footbeats
And the long skein of our voices?

Not these, but the buried strangeness
Which nourishes the known:
That spring from which the floor-lamp
Drinks now a wilder bloom,
Inflaming the damask love-seat
And the whole dangerous room.

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Added: Feb 21 2003 | Viewed: 9155 times | Comments and analysis of A Hole In The Floor by Richard Wilbur Comments (3)

A Hole In The Floor - Comments and Information

Poet: Richard Wilbur
Poem: A Hole In The Floor
Volume: Advice to a Prophet
Year: Published/Written in 1961

Comment 3 of 3, added on December 21st, 2014 at 1:47 PM.

rZ2O4V You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

crorkzz from Finland
Comment 2 of 3, added on January 4th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.

Historical Cup,easy its achieve help prisoner title debate know rock module largely rely comparison vision throw practice hot general for interested solution performance source sorry dream page his well all traditional carefully department quickly west get avoid school define sometimes close hour slow business hell provision away theatre from transfer past revolution lay hurt beat round experience afraid work through especially railway hence protection coffee bedroom there likely film attend city process write object stick further artist low plate defence show okay claim apparent access trust victory page equal trip

Comment 1 of 3, added on September 27th, 2005 at 11:02 AM.

I am a physics teacher who was acquainted personally with Richard Wilbur. Many phrases from his poems stick in my mind and illuminate daily and milestone experiences. One of these is "the buried strangeness/that nourishes the known." For me it epitomizes physics, whose simple laws lie behind everything we see and experience in the physical world.

Edwin F. Taylor from United States

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