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A Blessing

James Wright

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2002-02-18
Added by: kyle
it was gooder then other peoms
2002-08-24
Added by: Preston Mark Stone
One of the many striking qualities about this poem is Wright's careful pairing of opposites; obvious oppositions come in the "black and white" of the horse's mane, while far subtler pairings come in "bounds softly forth" and "darken with kindness." The tone of the poem seems best summed up by these two lines:

They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.

"A Blessing" epitomizes the general tone of Wright's poems -- he consistently balances love against loneliness to create a sense of interiority and tranquility. With Wright, it's not often that we have the sense of some external event, something happening outside the speaker's head.

Donald Hall made much of the lines, "Suddenly I realized that if I stepped out of my body I would break / INTO blossom." The linebreak on the word "break," and the long line followed by the terse one, quietly demonstrated that Wright had moved assuredly INTO the world of free verse while maintaining the control and attention to detail of his formal years.
last line of 'the blessing'
2002-12-15
Added by: K
I heard the last line of this poem while i was folding laundry-It's not often a poem grabs my heart that much but this last line sure did. I almost floated right out the window and continued w/laundry more light-headed than usual...thanks for the inspiration James Wright!
Imagism
2003-02-24
Added by: Rick Nelson
Preston and etal,

James subtle and not subtle allusions settles well with this poem. The meandering sensual thoughts of a womans wrist composed FROM the gentle touch of a ponies ear. He apparently thought well of the stretch of highway heading south FROM Minneapolis, Mn (Hwy 52). However, he had distinctly severe thoughts toward Minneapolis which he displays in "The Minneapolis Poem". I know both of these areas. His depiction of that stretch of Southern Minnesota is or more acurately was, accurate. There are spots of it, but more or less off the highway now. Also the whino's down by Nicollet Island are very hard to find, because the police have made it so.

That James did not want to be buried in Minneapolis "Please God" as he mutters in the Mpls Poem.

I find this contrast between to poems set in Minnesota to SHOW some of James Wright's nature. He perhaps was quite genteel toward images of nature, beauty, and love. In contrast to what I think is the stark realities of drugs and alcohol abuse in Minneapolis. To me, as with myself he might have as I have been accosted by whinos and druggies who panhandle for change all day in the downtown area. They might get someone around The Walker Art institute and Guthrie Theatre, which Wright mentions, because the artists, middle class and elite hang out there. There is a park (Loring Park) across the highway (94) foot bridge, so these panhandlers could migrate in and out.

Well, it's that he has struck images that I know, and I can relate to. I see it within much of his poetry. He uses it metaphorically as with the wet swans or allusionary as with "supposed patron" in the Mpls poem.

I find his images appealing for the realism he has stuck to.

2003-04-05
Added by: Erick
The power of this poem is amazing. It struck me 10 years ago when I read it for a college class and now, all those years later, the haunting loneliness still resonates for me.
2003-11-28
Added by: Laura van Vuuren
I heard Garrison Keeler recite this poem at a concert in Baltimore MD the day before Thanksgiving... it made me feel I could "break into blossom" . I wasn't sure of the poet or the name of the poem and I searched through all of my anthologies from college days and then the internet until I finally found it on your site. I am convinced that all the world would benefit if each one of us would memorize a poem as pure and lovely and provocative as this and find the right place and time to share it with another.
how long this poem has stayed with me
2003-12-29
Added by: CarolynRose
Thirty three years. A very long time. I've memorized it. I don't do that often. It means even more to me now, older, more conscious of my own hurts- those which have been delivered to me and those I've delivered without reason.

The blessings come, sometimes, in only a moment without fanfare. Just that feeling that I am forgiven.
a fine line that should not be so fine
2004-12-08
Added by: kg
To me it seems as if Wright is stuck in a world that is very full of trouble and deceit. The ponies are, however, so innocent and pure. They don't understand the things that we face everyday. Their world consists of grazing in their own field. For Wright they offer an innocent escape from a world that only seems out to get you. The ponies love each other because they are alike, but for the same pure qualities they both possess, they are alone in this crazy world we live in today.
love in rochester
2005-03-22
Added by: spyro 77
when my girlfriend and i read this poem we loved it so much that we read it for hours. then she realized she didn't truly love me and jumped off a cliff. you bastard james wright.
I just don't get it
2005-03-23
Added by: Lisa G.
I have stumbled across this poem many times, and the more I have read it, the less I like it. I suppose it may have to do with my not being a nature person. Also, I think Wright is being extremely melodramatic in this poem, and I have little appreciation for melodrama. This poem really baffles me even though it looks simple on the surface. I get that the guy sees some horses and they make him happy. But I have never understood why there is no loneliness like theirs. There are two of them, aren’t there? Wouldn’t a single horse be lonelier than two horses who at least have each other?

Then the speaker begins to feel an overwhelming sense of affection for one of the horses. This also I do not understand. I can understand liking animals to some degree, but his affection for this animal becomes almost romantic. I would guess that either he is on something or needs a girlfriend very badly. The final sentence makes absolutely no sense at all and I think supports my theory that the poet was on something.

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