Richard Wilbur, God, and Christianity Essay

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Richard Wilbur, God, and Christianity

A recurring theme in the poetry of Richard Wilbur is one of God and Christianity. Biblical references can be found throughout his work, even in poems that have little to do with religion. However, this theme is quite prominent as there are several poems contain more than passing references. Wilbur provides in these poems ideas that Christians can identify with, either in the Christian lifestyle or straight from the Bible.

Richard Wilbur was raised by a Presbyterian father and an Episcopalian mother. Because his mother was closer to her own faith, they attended an Episcopal church. When Wilbur's parents opted to not go to church, a neighbor took him to a Baptist Sunday School.
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Peter then recalls how he denied Jesus three times before he "felt the rooster's crow flail" him (lines 12-13). All he could then do was "weep" (line 16). Not only is this an interesting poetic account of what is in the Gospels of the Bible, but it contains dilemmas that many Christians face - failure to be alert to Christ's call, selfish motives in serving Him, and denial of the faith. Christians can better identify with Peter through this poem.

"The Proof" is a poem that shows the mercy of God. It paints God as the Editor of life through proofreading terminology. Mankind is created by "utterance" (line 2). This is referring to the Genesis account of Creation in the Bible where God speaks and at His word, an "utterance," things come into being. But, Wilbur says, one sometimes will say things that cause God's "work to jar and stammer" (line 3). This is when a person says something that violates a commandment and upsets God. The speaker says, "I love him that he did not in a rage / Once and forever rule me off the page" (lines 5-6). He is grateful that God did not strike him down for his iniquity. Instead, God "crossed out delete and wrote in stet" (line 8). "Stet" is a proofreading term for "let it stand." God, in His mercy and love, leaves people to do in their free will what they wish, hoping they will make the right choice and "might please him yet" (line 7). Through this poem, Christians can recall how God

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