What is the setting of the poem “A Blessing”?

The poem “A Blessing” by James Wright is set in a pasture alongside a highway on the way to Rochester, Minnesota. In this pasture live two Indian ponies, and the speaker's experience with them in this setting leads to an almost mystical unity with nature.

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James Wright's poem “A Blessing” begins, “Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota.” Rochester is a city in the southeastern part of Minnesota. The area around the city is largely rural, and the speaker is clearly outside the city, somewhere along the highway that leads to it.

In fact, the speaker is in a pasture. With his friend, he steps over the barbed wire and greets “two Indian ponies.” They recognize the humans and are pleased to see them. The speaker and his friend have stepped into the ponies' world. The ponies are at home in the pasture, and “they love each other.” They munch along contentedly.

The female pony comes over to the speaker and nuzzles his hand. It is at this point that the speaker has a nearly mystical experience. He is so close to the natural world there in the pasture with the ponies that he feels for a moment that he could step out of his body and “break / Into blossom.” His joy at the scene, his oneness with the ponies and the pasture and his friend, his sensory experiences of the “light breeze,” the touch of the pony, and the beauty of the twilight all combine to unite him with nature in such a way that he blossoms figuratively in happiness and peace, all in a pasture along the highway to Rochester, Minnesota.

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