Richard Wilbur





Part of a Letter

Easy as cove-water rustles its pebbles and shells
In the slosh, spread, seethe, and the backsliding
Wallop and tuck of the wave, and just that cheerful,
           Tables and earth were riding

Back and forth in the minting shades of the trees.
There were whiffs of anise, a clear clinking
Of coins and glasses, a still crepitant sound
           Of the earth in the garden drinking

The late rain. Rousing again, the wind
Was swashing the shadows in relay races
Of sun-spangles over the hands and clothes
           And the drinkers’ dazzled faces,

So that when somebody spoke, and asked the question
Comment s’appelle cet arbre-là?
A girl had gold on her tongue, and gave this answer:
           Ça, c’est l’acacia.