Tuesday, December 13, 2011

James Wright Partay

Well, it's his birthday, though he passed away in 1980. His poetry has been one of my core influences as a writer and a person. And though this poem is often considered one of his greatest--and it is one of my favorites--I don't think it's one of his best as a poem. However, it is one of his best on the level of blowing your mind and making you see yourself through everything else so you can see yourself deeper and truer--and this is what a deep imagist poet, and what a good writer, is all about.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in the green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.


Julie Stone said...

Thank you for sharing this, so few words yet I can see it so clearly.

By the way, I just finished Sleep, Leap, Creep and loved every bit of it. You've painted such beautiful pictures of your garden with your words.

Benjamin Vogt said...

So happy you liked SCL! Wish I could find a press for it. If you got it on Amazon, I would REALLY appreciate any kind of review, if only a sentence or two. Doesn't have to be fancy. I'd send you an invisible gift basket as thanks.