One helluva storm rolled through Knoxville on Tuesday night. 60mph wind. Thunder, like a small earthquake, shook the house. Trees and branches blocked the roads all over the neighborhood. Runoff swept lawn chairs from backyards into the ditch. Power lines were down on our street and we were without power for 18 hours.

The next morning, I managed to get E. to work and myself back home without getting either of us killed on the turnpike, which, in the absence of electricity and traffic signals, I renamed "El Camino del Muerte" after the road in Bolivia.

Who knew that all this time it was the traffic lights that were the true impediment to our turnpike fulfilling its potential and finally becoming Knoxville's Autobahn?

About a half mile from our street, there's a relatively good-sized plot of land with a smallish house and barn, and the folks that live there take in abused horses. Feed them and care for them until they're ready to move to a good home.

When I came home the other day, the three most recent ponies (Indian, I think) were huddled together in the enclosed pasture comforting each other, rubbing their heads against each others' necks and sides. They were, in short, a reminder.

We survived the winter snow and ice without accident or injury. We weathered the April/May tornado and "Hail-ocalypse" unscathed. No water damage to our possessions or our rental house during the most recent storm. The worst of it was having to toss most of our refrigerated/frozen foods. A small price. A blessing.

A Blessing

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.

James Wright
from Above the River


More James Wright @ Against Oblivion:

"Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk Toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me"
"Saint Judas"
"Northern Pike"
"A Blessing"
"Prayer to the Good Poet"
"Having Lost My Sons, I Confront The Wreckage Of The Moon: Christmas, 1960"
"To the Muse"