Study Guide

A Blessing Setting

By James Wright

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In one sense, there's no great mystery about the setting of "The Blessing." We know exactly where and when the action occurs: in a "pasture" along "the highway to Rochester, Minnesota" at "twilight" in the "spring." The highway reference clearly suggests a modern setting. The pasture, too, seems unexceptional; enclosed in "barbed wire," it supplies grazing land for two ponies.

But in another sense, the setting is suffused with mystery. For the speaker, this random pasture becomes a place of "happiness" and "love" and "loneliness." Why does the speaker experience this simple horse pasture as such an emotionally charged, almost dream-like environment? How does the presence of the ponies transport the speaker to the threshold of an out-of-body experience? Throughout the poem, the speaker is attuned to the mysterious magic of the setting, which by the end seem to have figuratively inspired him: "if I stepped out of my body I would break/ Into blossom" (23-24).

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