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Themes


The string of "coulds" Wilbur weaves together in the first half of "A Late Aubade" introduces us to the characters' choices (most specifically the woman's). If you break the poem down into a string of logical choices, they would look like this: She could read a book, or she could stay in bed with her boyfriend; she could be gardening, or she could stay in bed with her boyfriend; and so on and so forth. The second option, the one she quite obviously chooses, is always just to stay in bed and have a romantic morning. Wilbur shows us that because this is a choice, the woman could do anything else in the world, but chooses to be with the speaker, it's all the more precious. Because they are in love, they make choices and sacrifices just to spend time alone together. Sweet, right?

Questions About Choices

  1. Do you think the woman made the right choice in spending her morning with the speaker, or do you think she shirked her responsibilities? 
  2. Toward the end of the poem, the couple faces another choice: to get out of bed, or to continue into a lazy afternoon. What do you expect they'll do? Why?
  3. What are some of the positive outcomes of the choices the couple makes? What are some of the potentially negative outcomes that the poem doesn't explore?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The choice to stay in bed all day together is a lazy one, and nothing good can come of it. Up and at 'em.

This poem celebrates love and the small things in life. The couple made a smart choice to put the day-to-day stuff on the back burner for a morning so they could "stop and smell the roses"—and the blue cheese.

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