I discovered this James Wright poem, and started reading more James Wright poems, and now I’ve decided to be a James Wright fan for life, and to read lots of James Wright poems, and go home and live in a James Wright poem (which it seems I’ve already been doing), and maybe write a James Wright poem someday. I have a vague memory of my creative writing teacher freshman year exploding with the outburst, “James Wright was a jerk!” but it might’ve been some other poet, or a dream, but I think even if it was a faulty memory it set up an unfortunate barrier between me and James Wright. Whether he was a jerk or not, I don’t know, but I sure like his poetry, and it makes me homesick.
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
James Wright, “A Blessing” from Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose. Copyright � 1990 by James Wright. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.