By David Ferry b. 1924 David Ferry

At the supper for street people

The young man who goes about all muffled up from harm,
With whatever he has found, newspaper pages
Carefully folded to make a weirdly festive
Hat or hood, down almost over his eyes.
Everything carefully arranged to make him other.
The paper-covered razor blade in his mouth,
Or the bit of wood, like carrying a message.

A fantasy so clever, outwitting itself,
That it became what it was he was, and so
He was what it was. The long loose shirt too big
For him, the pantaloons too big for him
Loose like the pantaloons of the circus clown,
Some kind of jacket too big, he got it somewhere.
His burden slept dreaming everywhere upon him.
As if his whole body and the clothes he wore dreamed
Of his condition and the dream came true.

His clothes slept on him as if they were his lover.

Source: Poetry (January 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2012
 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 Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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