by James Wright
Lines 22-24 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
- The speaker's almost hypnotic reverie, with its focus on physical sensations in the present moment, is abruptly interrupted by the strange thought of stepping "out of my body." Shmoop has heard of out-of-body experiences before, but they usually seem to involve near-death experiences, not pleasant encounters with Indian ponies. Did we miss something here? Does the speaker feel the need to escape from something?
- The word "break" in line 23 seems to reinforce a vague sense of possible danger, especially if you just read lines 22 and 23, without continuing to line 24. If you step out of your body, the lines seem to suggest, you might "break," and that doesn't sound good. But line 24 puts a whole new spin on things, eliminating the threat of "break" by incorporating it into the expression "break into blossom." That doesn't sound so bad after all, although it's still pretty weird.
- Perhaps this blossoming is not meant to be visualized as an event in the physical world. If the blossoming is a spiritual experience, the image might correspond to a feeling rather than a picture. Speaking of spirituality, let's not forget the title of this poem, "A Blessing." (Check out the "What's Up with the Title?" section for more on this.) So what would it feel like to break into blossom? Maybe like falling in love, or like knowing you are loved—by a special person or a gentle pony or even by some mysterious force that permeates the entire universe.