By David Ferry b. 1924 David Ferry
I sit here in a shelter behind the words   
Of what I’m writing, looking out as if   
Through a dim curtain of rain, that keeps me in here.   

The words are like a scrim upon a page,   
Obscuring what might be there beyond the scrim.   
I can dimly see there’s something or someone there.   

But I can’t tell if it’s God, or one of his angels,   
Or the past, or future, or who it is I love,   
My mother or father lost, or my lost sister,   

Or my wife lost when I was too late to get there,   
I only know that there’s something, or somebody, there.   
Tell me your name. How was it that I knew you?

Source: Poetry (February 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2009
 David  Ferry


David Ferry is an acclaimed American poet and translator. Ferry’s translations, which include some of the world's major works of poetry including The Odes of Horace, and both The Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil, are known for their fluency and grace. In addition to his lauded translations, Ferry is also a prize-winning poet in his own right. His poetic works include Dwelling Places (1993) and Of No Country I Know: New and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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