I am grateful that in doing research for The Creative Hours, I came across Milton’s exquisite words:
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
Creative people live on everyday epiphanies. We find muses in the mundane, and receive life’s variety as a non-stop blessing. Living with a “gratitude mindset” means being in love with the poetry of now.
Way back when, from John Milton’s religious 17th Century perspective, the stakes were high. His epic poem “Paradise Lost”, grieves the biblical expulsion from the garden of eden. Milton was plagued by the irrevocable nature of this tragedy, but found a redemptive key in the poet’s mind and the reader’s imagination.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”
Unlike the romantic grandeur of Milton, the contemporary poet James Wright found rays of transcendence within the ordinary. James Wright (1927-1980) was a tortured soul who suffered with depression and alcoholism. His lonely poems often speak for the interloper and outsider. However heavy his heart, Wright found inspiration everywhere- even on the side of the road.
Wright’s friend, the poet Robert Bly explains the inception of the famous poem “A Blessing”. He tells how at dusk, on a drive through Michigan they spotted two ponies off the highway. At Wright’s request they pulled over, got out and climbed a fence to watch the horses for a few moments. Once back in their car headed to Minneapolis, James Wright opened his spiral notebook and wrote this poem:
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
CREATIVE EXERCISE: THIS POEM IS A BLESSING
This creative exercise takes a page from James Wright and prompts you to jot down the vivid details from a moment in your day. This is a wonderful way to practice gratitude and nurture creativity
TIP: don’t worry about whether the poem is “good” or not. The fact that you are writing a blessing is good enough!
Share your Blessing!
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or post with hashtag #TCHblessing
Further reading and supplies:
Paradise Lost, by John Milton. Milton’s epic poem explores the struggle for ascendancy between God and Satan is played out across hell, heaven, and earth in the work the consequences of the Fall are all too humanly tragic, with pride, ambition, and aspiration being the motivating forces
Above the River: The Complete Poems, by James Wright. From his Deep Image-inspired lyrics to his Whtimanesque renderings of Neruda, Vallejo, and other Latin American poets, and from his heartfelt reflections on life, love, and loss in his native Ohio to the celebrated prose poems, Above the River gathers the complete work of a modern master.
Ampad Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad, Red Cover, Ivory Paper, 5 x 8. Carry around a blessing notebook!
10 Color Retractable Pens, I’ve always found these pens to be a blessing!
Thank you readers for the Blessings!