By Charles Wright
I wish I had the capacity
to see through my own death.
Some flash light, some force of flame
Picking out diamond points
of falling leaves and the river of stars.
This is the year I’m scraping the ice away from its sidewalks.
This is the year I’ve slid its shoes off.
This is the year I’ve started to keep it company,
and comb its hair.
Charles Wright was born in Pickwick Dam, Tenn., in 1935 and was educated at Davidson College and the University of Iowa. He has written several books of poems, including most recently, “Outtakes” (2010); “Sestets: Poems” (2010); and the forthcoming “Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems” (April 2011). He has won several awards, including the Griffin Poetry Prize for “Scar Tissue” (2007), the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for “Black Zodiac” (1997), the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for “Chickamauga” (1995); and the National Book Award for “Country Music: Selected Early Poems” (1983).
Wright is also Souder Family Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Look for a profile on Wright on the PBS NewsHour in the coming weeks.