Letter to James Wright

by editor


James, that long suffering and affectionate shadow

passing behind the crowd of students

coming out of Hunter College

might have been yours,


still searching  the streets of New York

or along those rivers in Ohio

for the delicate creatures

with emerald bones


who came from the other world at a touch

of your hands, older

and younger than any of us.


James, I met your friend Robert

whose horse and old dog

you will surely remember.


So, please tell all your friends

that you did not waste your life.


I wrote this poem after Robert Bly recommended that I read the poems of his friend, James Wright.  His Selected Poems are a beautiful evocation of the American heartland. James drank and smoked too much and died too soon.