James Arlington Wright

(13 December 1927 – 25 March 1980 / Ohio)

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio


In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Therefore,
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Bronze Star - 6,613 Points Frank Avon (9/26/2014 1:15:00 AM)

    In this poem, Wright captures quite effectively our culture and our times. The first stanza, perhaps not politically correct, captures the reality of working-class America. The next two bring it home: the parents' generation having lost their dreams and ideals, their sons working out their frustration in gritty, elaborate, but artificial ways. Somehow this explains the incredible popularity of high-school football and the unfortunate ugliness of the football culture one hears about in the news these days. It takes courage to describe the sport as suicidally beautiful and galloping terribly against each other's bodies, but those are accurate, perceptive phrases. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 213 Points Manonton Dalan (5/26/2012 7:17:00 AM)

    i wonder how this poems became modern poem of the day.
    it isn't politically correct to standard of modern times...or i'm
    missing something. (Report) Reply

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