In James Wright's "A Blessing," how is his description revealing of his spiritual beliefs? What is described in the poem as a blessing?

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The "blessing" mentioned in the title of the poem could refer to a number of things.

First, the greeting the speaker and his friend bring to the Indian ponies is a kind of blessing, in that they have recognized them as beautiful and lonely and, in a way, kindred spirits.

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The "blessing" mentioned in the title of the poem could refer to a number of things.

First, the greeting the speaker and his friend bring to the Indian ponies is a kind of blessing, in that they have recognized them as beautiful and lonely and, in a way, kindred spirits.

Second, the gladness that "darkens" their eyes, and the way they "ripple" to show their happiness, suggests that the ponies recognize the men as friends. Their gratitude is a kind of blessing.

Third, the bond between the men and the horses is a kind of blessing. Wright's use of personification is subtle. The "love" the horses feel for each other, and their "loneliness," are examples of the poet empathically connecting with the animals. This imbues simple actions like nuzzling with a kind of spiritual depth.

And finally, the poem itself can be understood as Wright's blessing to the reader, or perhaps to the world itself. That is, the poem can be thought of as evidence of the spiritual connectedness of things, or as an affirmation that the Spirit that animates all things can be found everywhere, even in a pasture in Rochester, Minnesota.

It is difficult to articulate precisely what Wright's "spiritual beliefs" are. The final lines of the poem, however, give us a clue. The comparison of the horse's ear to the the "skin over a girl's wrist" is a kind of tactile epiphany on the part of the poet: what he realizes is that "if" he stepped out of his body he would "blossom" or change into something beautiful. For Wright, the divine is always just below the surface of things, waiting to burst forth.

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"A Blessing" depicts two friends as they interact with ponies in a pasture near the highway. For the speaker, the interaction unfolds from appreciative of nature to emotionally charged. The world around him soon fades away and he begins to view the interaction as something intimate and even transcendent.

James Wright doesn't directly pinpoint one specific blessing within the poem. As with most poetry, much of the meaning has been left up to reader interpretation. While there is no way to be certain of Wright's full intention, his use of the word "blessing" only appearing in the title is telling. This implies that the speaker's experience throughout the poem is the blessing itself, or more specifically, the speaker's unfolding emotional response is a blessing.

Wright also personifies the ponies' behaviors at various points:

They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.

This personification suggests that the speaker is now identifying with them on a personal, even spiritual level. While this doesn't blatantly tell us anything about Wright's beliefs, it does show that the connection felt is powerful, eye-opening, and even joyous at times. Perhaps the experience possesses qualities often associated with a blessing, but in ways that are more spiritual than religious. After all, a spiritual experience is often seen as an incident that awakens and impacts the human soul, uniting one's inner world with the world outside. Throughout the poem, Wright uses imagery and emotion to express humans' crucial connection with nature.

By the time we come to the end of the poem, it is important to note how everything begins. Two friends are driving down the highway and suddenly decide to pull off the main road, jumping a barbed wire fence. Had they continued driving to their intended destination without stopping, the interaction with the ponies wouldn't have occurred. Therefore, their decision to stray from the designated path is significant and must be considered when deciphering the author's intentions and beliefs.

The most useful lines to help us understand Wright's spiritual beliefs might be the last three:

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Without this unplanned interaction, the speaker wouldn't have arrived at this final realization. In these lines, he describes what he is feeling as something that transcends his physical and earthly capabilities, making this the most definitively spiritual moment in the entire poem.

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The blessing that the speaker receives as he steps with his friend over barbed wire into a Minnesota pasture is the greeting of two Indian ponies. The ponies, who are described as loving each other, have been grazing by themselves all day. As a result, they are very happy to see the speaker. They come over, and later they nuzzle the speaker's hand. He says,

[T]hey can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans.

His sense of being loved and appreciated by these natural creatures makes the speaker feel blessed and filled with happiness.

The speaker's joy and sense of blessedness suggests that he finds his spirituality in nature. His sensitivity to the beauty and spirit of the horses indicates that his experience of the divine comes from such encounters. This is reinforced by the poem's ending, where he expresses his belief that if he could shed his body he would "blossom" like a plant or flower—a part of nature—because of his joy.

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The poem is about looking at two ponies (nature) and feeling transcendent as a result.Many other things are suggested by the language the author uses. For example, the feminine nature.

Feminine nature is a subject in the poem as you can see from the narrator's stating that one pony is a female: "she has walked over to me" … "her mane" … "her long ear / That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist."

Another subject the poem deals with is death. The poet is telling us that when people die they don't just vanish. The image of  stepping out of the body shows us that he feels at one with the pony and nature.He is not just a human being but part of nature. He can transcend his human (body) nature.

Because of the poet's rapturous encounter with nature which seeing the ponies represents, the reader of "The Blessing" can understand that the poet believes in transcendence. In other words, that he is more than a mere mortal. This awareness he has makes him profoundly scared, as if he would "break". He is also feels he has become pure, like a "blossom".

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