Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Towns

Today in my Forms of Poetry class we read "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio," by James Wright, and while I try to keep the TV references to a minimum in my actual classes (it's difficult to shake the feeling that it detracts from my brainiac English major image–nevermind that the professor herself once brought up Battlestar Galactica), I wanted to tell someone what it was that the poem made me think of/feel/je ne sais quoi, which is...

It's like every episode of Friday Night Lights has been compressed into 12 lines. Or the feeling that Friday Night Lights emits, anyway, of big dreams and desperation and the way the dust gets caught in the football lights. FNL is definitely a show that lends itself to poetry.

Here's the poem:

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
by 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 of 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 beginnings of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

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