Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

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.

Credit


From The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright, published by Wesleyan University Press. Copyright © 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 James Wright. Used with permission.

Author


James Wright

Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, on December 13, 1927, James Arlington Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and was elected a fellow of The Academy of American Poets

Date Published: 1959-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/autumn-begins-martins-ferry-ohio