Study Guide

A Blessing Spring

By James Wright

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What's your favorite thing about spring? The Easter egg colors of tiny crocuses shouldering aside the chilly soil? The warmth of sunshine on your bare arms for the first time in months? The faint, insistent cheeping of baby birds in well-hidden nests? During winter, life seems to shut down, so when spring arrives, we naturally think of rebirth. James Wright once said that, "there is something about poetry in the human imagination that is like the spring." He also referred to "a force of life like the spring which mysteriously takes shape without your even having asked it." (For more on this, see the "Speaker" section.) Though the word "spring" appears only once in "A Blessing," the idea of spring as a creative force informs the entire poem.

  • Line 14: When you first started reading this poem, what assumptions did you make about the season? Initially, all we have to go on is the reference to grass in line 2, which suggests spring or summer, though grass also grows in Minnesota during early fall. The metonym (see "Symbols: Plants" for more) in line 14, however, identifies the season as spring. This is the only time the word "spring" appears, but spring as a symbol of renewal and transformation (see "Transformation" in the "Themes" section) is central to the meaning of the poem. 
  • Lines 23-24: Even though the word "spring" does not appear in the final lines of the poem, all of those symbolic associations of creative energy and transformation and rebirth pour right into the mysterious image "break / Into blossom."

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