James Arlington Wright

(13 December 1927 – 25 March 1980 / Ohio)

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A Blessing


Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • John Rogers (9/7/2010 8:05:00 PM)

    Nearly 40 years ago, I was privileged to hear Mr. Wright read this poem at a poetry 'festival' in Evanston, Illinois, that was also attended by James Tate and Andrienne Rich. While there were many fine readings that evening, I have no doubt everyone in attendance remembers the special, magical silence that followed these verses. Breathtaking beauty. Lifechanging words. (Report) Reply

    Frank Avon (9/26/2014 12:52:00 AM)

    Thank you for sharing this personal experience. I have never ranked Wright very high among modern (or postmodern) poets, but this poem convinces me that I should read his work again. If he has other poems like this one, I could become a serious fan. I've always liked his homey, agrarian Minnesota images, but they have never seemed to me so poignant and engaging as in this poem.

  • Sarah Kester (5/27/2009 11:33:00 PM)

    This is my very favorite poem in all the world. It is so beautiful and about pure, perfect love. James Wright wrote it for Anne Sexton. I just love it! (Report) Reply

  • laela private (1/4/2009 12:32:00 AM)

    How absolutely beautiful your writing is.
    It makes me imagine in my mind that I am right there, hearing it, smelling it and seeing it. I hope that one day I would be able to bring enjoyment to someone by my writings. wonderful work (Report) Reply

  • Marina Gipps (9/8/2008 4:27:00 PM)

    James Wright and son, Franz Wright, my distant poet relatives, both of whom I've never met. If only I was so blessed a poet. (Report) Reply

  • Beth Larsen Larsen (4/17/2005 7:06:00 PM)

    An estatic moment in a golden afternoon; this seems so different from many of his other gritty. I recognize this experience. (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

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