In this poem by James Wright, something very ordinary is happening.
The poet is visiting two ponies. He tells us how they stand, and what he can see in their eyes. He brings our attention to the feeling of their long ears as they brush against his skin.
This is all. Although, when I read this poem, it brings me to tears every time. The loneliness of the ponies. The tenderness with which Wright describes them. And then those last three lines, socking us in the stomach.
The best poetry brings our attention to something very simple, and it helps us to see it more clearly than before.
Poetry is a blessing. Poets distill experience, and offer it up for all of us to drink.
We drink it up, thinking, I hadn’t noticed that before. The poet speaks about his deepest secrets, and we think, Yes, that is what it is like for me. Best of all, it reminds us to notice the world around us, and to love it. It reminds us to step out of our bodies.
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
Causes Fiona Robyn Supports