Study Guide

A Late Aubade Sex

By Richard Wilbur

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While there is no mention of sex, "A Late Aubade" is all about it! Just think about it: they're in love, they've been in bed together all morning (and what seems like will be all afternoon, too). What else could possibly be going on? Wilbur also does some tricks with the line breaks and imagery (remember those pears?) that get us thinking something steamy is happening. Somehow, the fact that Wilbur declines to confirm or explicitly state that the couple has been having sex makes the truth of the matter more alluring, captivating, and also incidentally, much more tasteful.

Questions About Sex

  1. Would the couple seem as in love without the references to sexy time? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Wilbur decides never to tell us outright that they've had sex? 
  3. What information from our speaker, and which images, make you think something sexy is going on? Why?

Chew on This

Simply because the couple has been in bed together all morning does not mean that they've had sex. They could just as likely have been reading or watching TV together the whole time. Right?

The speaker seems to think what they're doing in the bedroom is more important than all of the other things she could be doing, but in reality, all of the other things are much more important and worthwhile. Hop to it, guys.

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