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People who apparently enjoy little else in Wilbur’s work delight in "Love Calls Us" for its gusto and its easy, spontaneous air – and I want to look at the careful wordplay in it for precisely this reason. … One readily notices the puns on "spirited," "awash," "blessed," "warm," "undone," "dark habits"; but less attention is paid to "astounded," "simple," "truly," "clear," "changed," and other words which suggest an enduring yet changeful harmony of matter and spirit which the waking man sense in his hypnagogic state, and which the poet celebrates with his wakeful imagination. The sleeper’s first look at the morning is giddy, solipsistic – but "simple" and follish as he is in his drowsiness, he is worthy of some affectionate treatment, groping as he does for "simple," pure realities beyond the coming maculate and turmoiled day. The angels on the wash line are "truly" there only to someone not quite awake – or is that they are "truly" there, in some dimension to which wakeful minds cannot find their way? The soul is "astounded" in every sense of the word: it is both stupefied and struck with wonder; the dance of the laundry-angels in the sight of heaven is likewise "clear" in all ways: simple and pure the dancers are, as well as transparent to the point of nonexistence. The poem is full of affectionate word jokes, all of which are "serious," all of which explore a theme of the duality of human existence and the balanced, dual consciousness one might need to see one’s place in the world.

… The poem is at once perfect seriousness and festivity, its language-founded ironies being play much as [historian and medievalist John] Huizinga defines it in its highest state, play as the exuberant celebration of mystery. The gaiety of the play heightens the reverence; it does not profane the ceremony. The words we have looked at are more than expressions of contrast between worldly and unworldly realities. The energy and music here are as well suited to holy festivity as their spreads of meaning are to the analytical mind. If the poem’s reconciliation of playfulness and seriousness, energy and intellect is a trick, it is a trick which hearkens back to the very beginnings of literature.