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The Blessing

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A Blessing

James Wright's "A Blessing" (rpt. In Thomas R Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 9th ed. [ Boston: Wadsworth, 2006] 861) is a wonderful poem about friendship and love. It uses a reoccurring symbol in Wright's poetry, the horse, to suggest both love and a transcendent experience.

Wright starts the poem off with "Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota". I believe he uses this to suggest the poem is real, not a dream or imaginative thought. It is written in free verse with most complete phrases complete to line length. There are a few exceptions within the story for instance line 3 "And the eyes of those two Indian ponies" and line 4 "darken with kindness". I think he does this to express these points more clearly and to amplify the feeling of the poem to the reader.

The poem can be perceived as almost like stepping out of reality into something beautiful. The friends enter from a city road, across barbed wire, into this ideal dream like setting. He describes the horses as "wet swans" (line11) and "delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist" (line 21). He is very effective in describing the emotional feeling of the poem by using words such as tensely, love, loneliness, and shyly. This poem is also descriptive, giving a colorful look on the setting, twilight bounds softly on the grass, the horses come out of willow trees into the pasture.

He describes the love and kindness of the horses for each other. Their eyes "darken with kindness" (line 4), they "ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness" (line 9), and they "bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other." (line11) You clearly can picture the two ponies, full of affection.

I think the character in the story is intrigued by and loves horses. He closely observes the ponies



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