Infinite peace and radiance

Sunday, 17 May, 2015

The novelist Denis Johnson said that the poems of Franz Wright “are like tiny jewels shaped by blunt, ruined fingers — miraculous gifts.” Regarding the poet, New Criterion critic William Logan wrote: “He has drunk harder and drugged harder than any dozen poets in our health-conscious age, and paid the penalty in hospitals and mental wards.”

Franz Wright once said in an interview, “Our suffering may be the real form love takes, but we also know that at the end of it waits infinite peace and radiance,” and that infinite peace descended upon him on Thursday when he died of cancer at his home in Massachusetts. As the obituary writers have have pointed out, Franz Wright was unique in that he and his father, James Wright, are the only parent/child pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category: Poetry.

Auto-Lullaby originally appeared in “Poetry Not Written for Children that Children Might Nevertheless Enjoy” by Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler.


Think of a sheep
knitting a sweater;
think of your life
getting better and better.

Think of your cat
asleep in a tree;
think of that spot
where you once skinned your knee.

Think of a bird
that stands in your palm.
Try to remember
the Twenty-first Psalm.

Think of a big pink horse
galloping south;
think of a fly, and
close your mouth.

If you feel thirsty, then
drink from your cup.
The birds will keep singing
until they wake up.

Franz Wright (1953 – 2015)

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