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Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World


by Richard Wilbur

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

The setting of "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World" should be a pretty familiar one. Imagine your own bedroom, with a clothesline just outside. Imagine early morning, when the light just bright enough to see. Simple enough, right?

But Wilbur isn't satisfied with simplicity. He zooms out to the whole world—its "hunks and colors" (25), its "thieves" (30) and "lovers" (31), and yes, even its "nuns" (32). You might say the setting itself is a celebration of all the messy wonders that love brings us when our bodies wake up and join with our souls.

And that makes perfect sense for the poem. The quiet, no-nonsense setting is fitting for the soul when it's awake and bodiless. Things are simple, clean, and pure. It's a bedroom and there's laundry. Done and done.

But when the body wakes up, things start to get messy. We leave the bedroom for the wide world, and what can we say? It's complicated.

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