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The title "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World' is taken from St. Augustine. "Plato, St. Teresa, and the rest of us in our degree," says Wilbur, "have known that it is painful to return to the cave, to the earth, to the quotidian; Augustine says it is love that brings us back." The poem begins as the soul awakes in the morning:

[. . . .]

The immediate impression is that of the tone, the mock-seriousness or mock-astonishment conveyed by the high impersonality of the language, the fastidious eloquence accorded a low subject, the Quixotic caprice that takes laundry for angels. This is one of Wilbur's few unrhymed poems, but one in which the line movement is most sympathetically varied in accordance with the spontaneous yet orderly progress of the observations and reflections. Humor is everywhere in the diction: "spirited" means "carried away mysteriously or secretly"; but this time the agents are actually spirits, the angels in the laundry; "awash," itself a pun, is followed by the "calm swells" of line 9 and by the "white water" of line 14. And the proposal that angels are in the laundry is followed by a witty description, the tone of which is appropriately amazed:

        Now they are flying in place, conveying

The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving

And staying like white water; and now of a sudden

They swoon down into so rapt a quiet

That nobody seems to be there.

The soul as it wakes is "bodiless" and wishes to remain so, like the laundry. The poem tells of its painful acceptance of the body, its descent to daily life. . . .

Here "as" means not only "while" but "in the same way as." Both sun and soul have been absent from the world in the night. The soul has a "false dawn" as the sun might, but both then come to acknowledge in a real dawn "the world’s hunks and colors," "the waking body" in all its substantial variety. "In bitter love," but nonetheless persuaded, the soul approves the use of the clean clothes not by angels but by men. . . .

The spirit’s progress in this poem is like that in "’A World Without Objects . . .’"; it moves away from the pure vision and back to the impure, "absurd," or paradoxical world in which "clean linen" is not for angels but for "the backs of thieves" and for lovers about to be "undone"; in which nuns, who may incongruously be heavy, must keep not only their feet but also the "difficult balance" at the heart of this poem, the balance of the spirit between the two worlds of angels and men.