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Analyzing Wilbur’s Orchard Trees, January
By reading one of Richard Wilbur’s poems, one can get extremely confused while trying to find the actual meaning of the poem. Someone could take the easy way out and not try to get deep down into the poem to find the real meaning, or one could investigate the poem and learn what Wilbur is trying to get across to the reader. In "Orchard Trees, January," one could pick up what Wilbur is trying to say if one takes the time to think about it. On some of his poems, though, it is nearly impossible to know what he is talking about. Only the interpretation from Wilbur himself could help one who is completely baffled by one of his poems. Authors often write their poems at the spur of the moment, and the mood that the poet is in reflects the meaning of the poem. Centenary College was lucky enough for Richard Wilbur to come to the school and explicate many of his poems. This helps in dissecting Wilbur’s poems.
When reading "Orchard Trees, January," it seems to be talking about how a tree survives the harsh winter until the spring arrives, upon which it appears new and more fresh than ever before. By looking deeper into the poem, there are details that one can pull out of it, which is probably what Wilbur wants to be known.
In the poem, it seems that somebody is inside his or her dwelling place looking outside at a tree. The person is marveling at how the tree can withstand the cold weather, continuous snow, and other harsh conditions that the winter brings. Witnessed throughout the days of winter by the person in the window, the tree’s bark stays strong, however the winter snow has been able to penetrate it. The tree becomes frozen, but it is strong enough to live throughout the winter until the spring relieves its suffering. When spring finally arrives, the effects of winter can no longer harm the tree. The freezing stage is gone, and the tree can give forth new life and growth in the springtime.
The true meaning of this poem could only be perfectly interpreted by Wilbur, himself. In "Orchard Trees, January," it seems that the interpretation previously given above is correct, although Wilbur may have some different stress points. There probably is an even deeper meaning in this poem that Wilbur could get across, but most of the time it is up to the reader to be able to pick it out and relate it to the poem.
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