Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

By James Wright 1927–1980 James Wright
In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,   
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,   
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home,   
Their women cluck like starved pullets,   
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

James Wright, “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio” from Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose. Copyright © 1990 by James Wright. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose (1990)


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Poet James Wright 1927–1980

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Fall, Jobs & Working, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse