Study Guide

A Late Aubade Speaker

By Richard Wilbur

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A man in love—our speaker plays a very important role in this poem, because not only is he describing what he is doing and how he feels, but he gives us a small window into what his lover might be like too. Because the poem is in the second person (the "you" perspective), we get a very up-close and personal account from our speaker.

The first lines in the first two stanzas launch right into that direct address: "You could be sitting in a carrel" and "You could be planting a raucous bed." Wilbur is not keeping us at arm's length in this poem. We've got courtside seats to this morning of romance.

The speaker also keeps it cozy and familiar, using conversational asides (line 15: "Such things, thank God, not being to your taste."), and even familiar sayings: "It's almost noon, you say? If so,/ Time flies" (21-22). It's almost as if we're in the next room, and we get to overhear their conversation, and occasionally spy on them. We think, for this poem, it's a much more interesting perspective than if we were being told what was happening from a third-person point of view ("they did this, then he did this, then she did that"). It's definitely a more—ahem—intimate perspective. And that's all thanks to our speaker.

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