The Beautiful Changes

The Beautiful Changes

By Richard Wilbur


One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides

The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies

On water; it glides

So from the walker, it turns

Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you

Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.


The beautiful changes as a forest is changed

By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;

As a mantis, arranged

On a green leaf, grows

Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves

Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.


Your hands hold roses always in a way that says

They are not only yours; the beautiful changes

In such kind ways,

Wishing ever to sunder

Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose

For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.



About the author

Richard Wilbur (1921 – 2012) was born in New York City. He was 1 of the most acclaimed and honored American poets of the 20th century. Wilbur was the second poet laureate of the United States. Daniel Boorstin, the Librarian of Congress, announced Wilbur as “a poet for all of us, whose elegant words brim with wit and paradox.”

During his lifetime, Richard Wilbur won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his collection Things of This World: Poems in 1957. He won a second Pulitzer for New and Collected Poems (1988). Wilbur received of numerous honors and awards, including the Wallace Stevens Award, the Frost Medal, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, two Bollingen Prizes, the T.S. Eliot Award, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award, the Prix de Rome Fellowship and many more honors, fellowships and awards for his poetry.

Fluent in French, Wilbur was also recognized for achievement in translation. His translations of French verse, particularly Voltaire’s Candide and the plays of Moliere and Racine, are highly regarded by critics.  His translation of Moliere’s Tartuffe won the 1971 Bollingen Prize.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *