Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Blessing by James Wright

Arguably the best poem James Wright ever wrote, certainly a personal favorite of many, even the most casual, of poetry readers, "A Blessing" seems a perfect choice for the holidays. It is the center piece of The Branch Will Not Break, the volume being featured from the "Near Perfect Books of Poetry" list.

The last three lines illustrate the Eastern influence on Wright's work. They might be extracted for a near perfect Western style haiku. Certainly, the lines resonate in many ways, transcendence being the primary one.

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.

James Wright

For the next two weeks, the regular weekly post featuring poems from the Lilliput Back Issue archives will be on Friday due to the Thursday holidays.

Wishing all the best of holidays,


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