Tuesday, March 27, 2007

James Wright, "A Blessing;" Poem: "Frogs"

I haven't blogged in a while, obviously. Does this mean I've been busy? I don't know. I went on a peace march two weeks ago and read some anti-war poetry that first saw light here, "Men in Suits," and "Hail to the Chiefs"--two villanelles. I've been gardening, attending a gardening class, and suffering from an interminable cold that has now progressed into a sinus infection. I've been reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, O'Connor, James, Bellow, Aeschylus, Heaney, and Plath, to mention a few.

Kathleen and I went down to the Bay Area over the weekend to visit with my sibs and celebrate my youngest brother's birthday, although the birthday boy got himself into a pickle and couldn't come. So we toasted his absence. Kathleen had also knitted a beautiful shawl of cashmere and silk for my sister, and it was roundly admired and I hope, coveted.

I've been contacted by an archaeologist in an adjoining county who happened upon my blog and who recommended both James and Franz Wright to me, and upon deeper acquaintance with their work, I am amazed and humbled. Here's one from James, father of Franz:

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.

Poems this good make you wish you were this good. Luckily I have no poem about horses with which to compare this. And not entirely bereft, I had three poems and an essay recently accepted by Umbrella and a poem and essay accepted by Blue Fifth Review. They should be out this summer.

To stay on an animal theme, here's a poem of mine about frogs that was published in Tryst:


Where are the frogs,
those wide-mouthed bassoons,
where have they gone?
Where the long-tongued
bass chucklers of the riverbed
with their resonating neck pouches,
where our amphibian tubas?
Gone, they are gone.

I have heard tree frogs,
their music ethereal as the sheen
of oil on a rain puddle,
but where are the ground frogs,
pond frogs, river frogs?
Their absence astounds me.

I have heard of the decline of frogs,
of mutant, two-headed frogs, of flaws
in the helical thread of their genome,
but no one can explain it.

Where have they gone?
I miss their croaking counterpoint
to the traffic of rapids and the blue jays' shriek.
I need their staccato didgeridoos
to balance the hypnotic sawing of insects.

The streams and rivers are hushed;
the herons have dropped their willow batons.
Waterfalls may thud like tympanies
but the orchestra can't be mended
without frogs. Where have they gone?
Did you hide them?

Thine at Kiloneutral,



  1. CE - If you've not read The Branch Will Not Break, it's a must. You are absolutely right about "A Blessing". Enjoyed "Frogs".

  2. I enjoyed both. I particularly love the last two lines of The Blessing one.

    Try Jen hadfield's work, examples here:


  3. Anonymous12:35 AM PDT

    The JW one is lovely, CE.

    as far as the others'inquirys - well suffice to say, you be sphinxter and perhaps I be sherlock homedog-dat don't bark nomo watson, nevermind igknighting ships at sea via xray vision magnified in the name of the brother -- this leads all mindfull thinkers to believe the doctor-who is not really in however outside it was.

    I'm sorry, I can't have an email.anymore. being hacked, followed, photographed, and otherwise intruded upon supposedly as result of one 3am hit-n-run.

    If the nature of things still requiring insurance of further inquiry by yours truly,well - contact can be made through dulsinea via Don Payotte.

    Dark O Days?

    Ever seen that movie

    You may be through with the past...

    Yrs truly,
    a non

  4. Glad you're back, I was starting to worry. I recently came across James Wright as well-- he's a keeper.

  5. Thanks for all the comments, but what most intrigues me is anonymous, who knows things about my history only a good past friend could know--but won't come clean. I hope he is the long-lost friend who rejected me for a manic incident over ten years ago, but have little hope this could be true. I mean to write him anyway, through the hand-delivered services of one who knows him and lives near him.

    Both Wrights are wonderful, I think, rare to have a father-son connection in poetry. Rarer than baseball.


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