In the Shreve High football stadium, I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville, And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood, And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel, Dreaming of heroes. All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home. Their women cluck like starved pullets, Dying for love. Therefore, Their sons grow suicidally beautiful At the beginning of October, And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.
James Wright - 1927-1980
To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain
I had no idea the elf owl Crept into you in the secret Of night. I have torn myself out of many bitter places In America, that seemed Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon. I wish I were the spare shadow Of the roadrunner, I wish I were The honest lover of the diamondback And the tear the tarantula weeps. I had no idea you were so tall And blond in moonlight. I got thirsty in the factories, And I hated the brutal dry suns there, So I quit. You were the shadow Of a hallway In me. I have never gone through that door, But the elf owl's face Is inside me. Saguaro, You are not one of the gods. Your green arms lower and gather me. I am an elf owl's shadow, a secret Member of your family.