Sunday, October 23, 2005


by Richard Wilbur

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this simile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

I really liked how the mind is described through the analogy of a bat's life. The first stanza, I interpreted, was about the perseverance of the mind and how it doesn't give up, nor bound by unseen restrictions. The mind is "playfully" coming up with ideas and throwing them left and right according to a sort of sense of "trial and error". I think that the second stanza is poetically and creatively describing what we know to be "common sense" in the mind. It's so natural, that we aren't consciously thinking about what we don't think about. I know, that sounds a little confusing :) And the third stanza encourages the poet's reader to take from the poem what they want. It's not a piece that's meant to be thought about deeply. Because it's not thought about deeply in our "minds", the meaning of the poem carries out it's validity by our every thought and interpretation of it.


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