Poems of the Day: Franz Wright

A Morning of Fog by Richard X. Thripp

Two by Franz Wright for your consideration. The first is from his book Entry in an Unknown Hand (1989), and the second is from The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes (1982). Both poems can be found in ill lit: Selected and New Poems by Franz Wright. Included in ill lit are some pieces from Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Wright. Both of these poems are great examples of how imagery creates mood and tone. The first is a bit grim, the second much lighter. Both, though, are accurate descriptions of morning. Perhaps the first is Monday morning, and the second is a Saturday morning.

Morning Arrives

Morning arrives
by limousine: the tall
emaciated chairman

of sleeplessness in person
steps out on the sidewalk
and donning black glasses, ascends
the stairs to your building

guided by a German shepherd.
After a couple of faint knocks
at the door, he slowly opens
the book of blank pages

pointing out
with a pale manicured finger
particular clauses,
proof of your guilt.



A girl comes out
of the barn, holding
a lantern
like a bucket of milk

or like a lantern.
Her shadow’s there.
They pump a bucket of water
and loosen their blouses,

they lead the mare out
from the field
their thin legs
blending with the wheat.

Crack a green kernel
in your teeth. Mist
in the fields,
along the clay road

the mare’s footsteps
fill up with milk.



4 Responses to Poems of the Day: Franz Wright

  1. Michae! Magree, SJ says:

    Love them both. Thanks for these, Jeff!

  2. Franz Wright says:

    I am very flattered that you chose to print those old poems of mine, but I have to say you are doing the poems–or the readers of the poems–a disservice by failing to print them as they appear in my books, that is,with stanza breaks! This formal aspect of the lyric poem is not something that can just be dispensed with, any more than one would tamper with the formal structure of a piece of music–so I wish you would do somthing to amend this. Many thanks again, and God bless you. Franz Wright

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