Letter to James Wright
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.