Like many of the nature poems of the English Romantic poets, James Wright’s “A Blessing” begins with the close observation of the natural world and moves toward a startling moment of self-revelation. Consisting of a single stanza of twenty-four unrhymed lines, the poem begins by announcing its geographic setting—“Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota”—and the time of day—twilight. The speaker and his friend watch two Indian ponies emerge from a group of willows and walk toward them. Then the two humans “step over the barbed wire into the pasture” and approach the ponies, who show no fear. In fact, not only are the ponies unafraid, but also, according to the speaker, their eyes are dark “with kindness,” they come “gladly” forward to “welcome” the two people, and “they can hardly contain their happiness/ That we have come.” Watching the ponies, the speaker decides, “They love each other.”
The speaker’s evident pleasure in the ponies and the positive emotions he ascribes to them seem almost sentimental, but the hint of sentimentality is undermined at the center of the poem when, just after asserting that the ponies love each other, the speaker says, “There is no loneliness like theirs.” In line 8, the speaker states that the ponies have been grazing all day “alone,” which might explain the delight they take in their human visitors, but the “loneliness” in line 12 is not a temporary or...
(The entire section is 455 words.)