Wednesday

Dec. 25, 2013

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.

"A Blessing," by James Wright, from Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose. ©Wesleyan University Press, 1990. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Today is Christmas Day, and we're celebrating with quotes and literature about the holiday.

Charles Dickens (books by this author) described the holidays as "a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

Sir Walter Scott (books by this author) wrote:
"Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale;
Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year."

It was 19th-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (books by this author) who wrote: "I heard the bells, on Christmas Day, Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet /The words repeat /Of peace on earth, good will to men."

In "A Child's Christmas in Wales" (1952), the poet Dylan Thomas (books by this author) wrote: "Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: 'It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.' 'But that was not the same snow,' I say. 'Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely white-ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.'"

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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