Conjugation of Perhaps / Frederick Wilbur


Conjugation of Perhaps

poems by

Frederick Wilbur

ISBN: 978-1-59948-842-4, 66 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: November 20, 2020

The Advance Sale Discount price expired October 23, 2020.

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Main Street Rag
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Charlotte, NC 28227-7001

Frederick Wilbur was brought up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and still lives there with his wife and family. He has degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Vermont. He has been a professional architectural woodcarver for 35 years and has written three books on decorative woodcarving. His first collection of poetry is As Pus Floats the Splinter Out (2017). His writing appears in Appalachian Heritage, Atlanta Review, Green Mountains Review, The Main Street Rag, The Comstock Review, The Dalhousie Review, Shenandoah, South Carolina Review, and online: Rise Up Review, Verse-Virtual, and New Verse News.

As a keen-eyed observer, Frederick Wilbur catalogues the wonders of everyday life amid the splendor of rural Virginia. His quiet ruminations revel in nature and ordinary occurrences, from crows as “bits of black silk” and fenced fields as “quilts settled over the land” to old men rocking on a porch, their labor “safe in the barn of days.” This meditative collection provides serene moments of natural beauty that are welcome in today’s hectic world. ~Bill Glose, author of Postscript to War, Virginia Walkabout, Personal Geography, Half a Man, and The Human Touch


In artfully rendered poems, Frederick Wilbur offers a compelling vision of the world—one graced with “voluptuous light” and lessons worth gleaning. A master of both formal and free verse, Wilbur sculpts stunning poems that excel in musicality and concision. Regardless of whether he reflects on environmental issues, the rewards of woodcarving, or on a mother’s death, this insightful poet carries the reader on an intricate journey where contemplation is the key to discovery. ~Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Virginia Poet Laureate Emerita

Prayer is Heaven’s Duct Tape


Humid August turns firewood green again—
moss, lichen, mold in a profusion of barter.
Each calendar square fills with twigs of obligation,
clouds in the picture above are dunked
in the dye-tub of an evening arabesque.

In the glistening heat, hands work hard to sign
our desires—touch of skin worth the silence,
the apricot moon rising soft and ripe.

And you, on the homestead side of experience,
hang your bra on the back of the door,
and gift more than the solace sought.

Night’s stick figures, drawn star to star,
parade past, light so long in coming,
but love’s infinity looped as a symbol
shows two tear-drops meeting
to kiss at the crossroads.

And lovers everywhere wake from rumpled dreams
like worn words condensed out of circulation,
look at each other in astonishment,
now on the other side of promise.



Folk Art


The barn she paints en plein air
slowly collapses the way you
can’t quite see the moon’s true
rise, like the creep and snare
of kudzu.

The quilt pattern on its boards
unstitches, becomes only rags
on gallery gray. The tin roof sags
in deference to earth’s pull towards
rot’s rewards.

Common cattle anchor curves of field,
her dabs of pasture thistle and weed
hide their hooves. The winter tweed
of trees is a curtain to shield
the horizon’s further need.

Too round, hay bales will roll
double-dared by the slightest wind.
She laments her blues are too thinned,
yet knows the sympathy they cajole—
sometimes it is the heart that ruins console.



The View from Here


Nine months of winter I dreamed
maple forks, lumber’s nominal discipline,
how the treehouse deck would float level,
how swings might hang from heaven.

I build for the joy of it—the neighbor kids
know it as their own. I measure each child
to the railing height, windowsills,
notch and lash a ladder as their lesson of ascent.

Rope and pulley, bucket, bring the world
to their high hopes, their earnest play.

As soon as the roll-roofing is nailed,
each head dolloped with tar, I worry
about what I have done.

Now an emptying decade since, kids
gone to real things, I sweep
leaves from corners, replace rusting bolts,
screw down a few new floorboards.



From Dirt, Grace


She trenches around pinkish glass
with an old stainless steel spoon,
the way her dog snorts out a mole,
throwing the commonness of dirt behind.

Where, until recently a playhouse collapsed
to its ruin. After its salvage and removal,
rains discovered a mosaic of porcelain,
nuggets of rust, this hint of a buried life.

Her tongue forgets itself. Silent, she makes
no surmise as an archeologist might.
The bunny she pries from dark timelessness
is as magical as a pharaoh’s gold.

With dirty hands, she rubs the glossy fur clean,
asks me to hose its hollows and secret heart.
She places the unchipped message on her
bedroom windowsill, motive transparent.

She sleeps, hears in dream the girl crying,
and feels the loss that she has found.

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