Quote for Discussion: James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,

I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,

And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,

And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,

Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.

Their women cluck like starved pullets,

Dying for love.


Their sons grow suicidally beautiful

At the beginning of October,

And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

James Wright, Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

In celebration of the renewal for a third season of Friday Night Lights, one of the best shows about many things, but particularly rural poverty, to grace television screens in America.


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  1. …but anyone who wishes to post their own quotes for discussion, or who has suggestions for quotes to post, should feel free to post them under the title themselves or to email them to me.  Not that my posting the quotes always means people will want to discuss them.

    • kj on April 9, 2008 at 02:53

    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.

  2. and a poem.

    i love the title. today has been a day for great ones.

    it captures us, doesn’t it? not bad or evil. just straining for meaning…

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