This Morning Guest Editor 9/1 – 9/5: Joseph Fasano


As the poet Gregory Orr reminds us in his brutal and beautiful memoir The Blessing, the verb “to bless” has its origins in violent consecration, in difficult bliss, in blood. In his poem “Wait,” Robert Wrigley kneels us in the viscera of a hunted deer, reminding us that its death is “a blessing for the coyotes / and the black-and-white custodial birds.” But it is more than that, of course: it is an initiation of the hunter (and we are all hunters) into a troubled communion with an earth that would nourish us. Every age thinks itself particularly cursed, or particularly “blessed,” but perhaps more than ever we find difficulty in giving thanks to and receiving gifts from an earth we are losing, in part because of our rough custodianship of it. Wrigley’s poem is nothing short of an attempt at theodicy, a drive to “also find” the dark forces “beautiful,” to know that we are both within nature (with its mindless quickness and its devastating patience) and without it, attempting to bless and be blessed. Perhaps the poem is ultimately successful precisely because it fails to come to an easy accord with those forces.