Richard Wilbur


            Beasts in their major freedom
    Slumber in peace tonight. The gull on his ledge
Dreams in the guts of himself the moon-plucked waves below,
           And the sunfish leans on a stone, slept,
                  By the lyric water,

            In which the spotless feet
     Of deer make dulcet splashes, and to which
The ripped mouse, safe in the owl’s talon, cries
         Concordance. Here there is no such harm
                  And no such darkness

             As the selfsame moon observes
      Where, warped in window-glass, it sponsors now
The werewolf’s painful change. Turning his head away
          On the sweaty bolster, he tries to remember
                  The mood of manhood.

             But lies at last, as always,
       Letting it happen, the fierce fur soft to his face,
Hearing with sharper ears the wind’s exciting minors,
           The leaves’ panic, and the degradation
                  Of the heavy streams.

              Meantime, at high windows
        Far from thicket and pad-fall, suitors of excellence
Sigh and turn from their work to construe again the painful
           Beauty of heaven, the lucid moon
                  And the risen hunter,

               Making such dreams for men
         As told will break their hearts as always, bringing
Monsters into the city, crows on the public statues,
            Navies fed to the fish in the dark
                   Unbridled waters.