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


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.

Credit


From Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright. Copyright © 1992. Reprinted by permission of the literary estate of James Wright. All rights reserved.

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: 1992-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/saguaro-cactus-tree-desert-rain