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  • Lori Brack

A Blessing

By James Wright


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.


This is one of the poems I carry around in memory. It always moves me, the turn from description and narrative to the last three lines, which take my breath away. I have felt this way one or two or three times in my life -- as if I stepped out of my body I might break into something close to ecstasy.


Another thing I love about this poem is how Wright knows the horses' thoughts and feelings. I don't doubt that they are kind, happy, lonely, and glad.


If you'd like to get a poem in your email inbox every day, as I did this poem today, sign up for Poem of the Day at poetryfoundation.org. The website also has an audio poem of the day, a podcast, and more.

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