His father worked for fifty years at a glass factory, and his mother left school at fourteen to work in a laundry; neither attended school beyond the eighth grade. While in high school in Wright suffered a nervous breakdown and missed a year of school. When he graduated ina year late, he joined the army and was stationed in Japan during the American occupation. He then attended Kenyon College on the G.
They pulled off the highway and stopped to admire two Indian ponies. The poem gradually builds up with a series of observations and interactions until the speaker, almost overwhelmed, faces the prospect of transcendence. There is an acknowledgement that a human can go beyond mere sensual experience when in contact with nature.
James Wright, teacher and professor, won the Pulitzer prize in for poetry that depicted post-industrial midwest America, marginal types and the effect of humans on nature.
A Blessing, published in in Wright's book The Branch Will Not Break, has become one of his most popular, and can be found in many anthologies. Many have noted the underlying influence of both Wordsworth and Shelley in the last three lines of the poem, when the speaker suddenly feels a need to break out, to blossom and thereby transcend the limits of human physicality.
This communing with nature's 'unseen Power', with the 'Spirit of the Universe' is given an overtly sensual edge - the speaker having touched the soft ear of one pony - plus, there is an uncertainty on behalf of the speaker, for they only think this mystical oneness will happen.
There is no doubting the near romantic tone of James wrights a blessing poem, which for some creeps towards old fashioned sentimentality.
For example, the phrases Twilight bounds softly forth and They love each other and I would like to hold the slenderer one could be said to give the poem too soft an underbelly. And can a pony, or any animal, have kindness in their eyes?
To us humans, animals can certainly appear happy, but can they appear to be kind? These are issues to be debated over but certain critical questions have to be asked: Do these romantic elements fit into the overall scheme of the poem? Is the poem more or less successful because of such phrases and lines?
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.
Analysis of A Blessing A Blessing is a free verse poem, with no set, regular rhyme scheme or meter metre in British English. It is 24 lines long and the lines vary in length and syllabic content. Whilst essentially a poem of transformation and transcendence through communion with nature, the epiphany arriving at the end, A Blessing is built on a series of opposing elements: The synergy between all of these help make this poem greater than the sum of its parts, just.
As the reader progresses there develops a definite sense of anticipation, the two humans making eye contact with the ponies in the fading light, stepping over the barbed wire from the human world into the wild world of the ponies.
Perhaps this barbed wire is also a threshold, a darker symbol of the industrial man-made environment just off the highway, a gateway so to speak into the beautiful world of nature.
Note that the first fourteen lines, made up of unrhymed couplets, create an aura that is gentle and feminine in character. The language is comforting, creating harmony - softly forth, kindness, gladly, welcome, happiness, bow shyly, love, young tufts of spring This message, one of harmonious welcoming, is juxtaposed alongside the elements that oppose and yet strengthen.
What results from this is a mild confusion, embodied in the second part of line 11 and the whole of How can that be?
The speaker projects human qualities onto the ponies, suggesting that these two are in love, yet uniquely lonely. Is this where metaphor comes in? Are the ponies really humans in the mind of the speaker, peripheral, lonely, because they're not understood?
On the other side of the barbed wire. One of the ponies is singled out because it displays what to the speaker is affection and comes over to nuzzle the hand, whilst the breeze informs the speaker's actions and he touches the long ear, which is as soft as girl's wrist.
This second simile shyly as swans is the first comes at an opportune time, for we're nearing the transcendent last few lines of the poem. The speaker's obvious need for a connection with nature, primarily moved by the welcoming stance of both ponies, and strengthened through physical interaction and pure observance of eyes, ears, mane and feeding action too, is interpreted as a conscious move out of the physical body and into a different metaphorical dimension.
And with this final blossoming the creative expression is part fulfilled can it ever be wholly fulfilled? This wanting to leave the body, to become a spirit of nature, was an idea James Wright explored in several of his poems.In "A Blessing," James Wright begins by telling a simple story about a couple of ponies.
As the poem progresses, figurative language helps convey the speaker's depth of emotion (one pony's ear is "delicate" as a "girl's wrist"), but the story is still easy to follow. James Wright composes “A Blessing,” by introducing a narrator who recalls a memory about an experience he had with a friend on a trip around Rochester, Minnesota.
On this trip, the narrator and his friend encounter two Indian ponies, one of which appears to make a pronounced impact on the narrator.
The speaker in James Wright's "A Blessing" dramatizes a simple event that left him with a marvelous, emotional fulfillment. Wright's poem commits the fallacy known as the pathetic fallacy; it assigns emotions to animals that are clearly only human emotions.
Note: This material was scanned into text files for the sole purpose of convenient electronic research. This material is NOT intended as a reproduction of the original volumes. However close the material is to becoming a reproduced work, it should ONLY be regarded as a textual reference.
Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph W. Omholt, PM in May James Wright was frequently referred to as one of America's finest contemporary poets. He was admired by critics and fellow poets alike for his willingness and ability to experiment with language and style, as well as for his thematic concerns.
"A Blessing" is perhaps James Wright's best known poem. It certainly embodies his greatest strength: the poet evoking nature as an inroad to the metaphysical or numinous.
Wright is, in general and in this poem in particular, a poet of epiphany in the grand Yeatsian tradition.