Study Guide

A Late Aubade Stanza 5

By Richard Wilbur

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Stanza 5

Lines 17-18

Of time, by woman's reckoning,
You've saved, and so may spend on this

  • The speaker thinks the woman has saved time by not doing all the things he lists in the first part of the poem. 
  • A "woman's reckoning" might mean things that are important from a woman's standpoint. This might be offensive to people who think activities shouldn't be separated by gender (shopping, gardening, and lunching), but it might also be completely harmless (reading, training a dog, and attending college). We'll leave it as something for you to form your own opinions about. 
  • The last word of line 18, "this" hints again at what they're up to, but doesn't give us anything concrete. C'mon, Wilbur, we're waiting!

Lines 19-20

You who had rather lie in bed and kiss
Than anything.

  • Busted! They've been kissing in bed all this time. We had suspected something romantic was going on, and now our suspicions have been confirmed. 
  • So this woman (and presumably our speaker too) would rather lie in bed together than do just about anything else.
  • This poem is taking a very sweet turn! It's almost as if Wilbur is arguing that nothing is more important than spending time with the one you love. Aww.

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