Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

By James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,   
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.   
Down the ravine behind the empty house,   
The cowbells follow one another   
Into the distances of the afternoon.   
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,   
The droppings of last year’s horses   
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.   
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

  • James Wright, “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” 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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"I did not expect to fall in love with poetry. I just expected to recite and be done with it. After just sitting there and analyzing my poems, I realized that the stories told through these few words mean so much. I had to step out of myself and step into the author's shoes, and with that comes great work."
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