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Evening News II

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The face looking into the room;
Behind it light, shaking, like heat
Lightning; the face calm and knowing;
Seeing, but not seeing who I am;
The mouth may be telling something.

Something about our helplessness;
Something about the confusions of beasts;
The consequence of error; systems
Haywire, or working; the stars gone
All wrong in the body’s courses.

Out on the plain of Mars, brilliantly
Played under the lights, searched out
Beyond any answer, the game went on
Far into the night; the bloodiest came
Home from the battle seeking the prize.

The women were disgraced; hair streaming,
Pleading into the staring: buy, buy—;
Was it my daughter I was seeing?—
The humiliation was pleasing: tears,
Laughter, smiles, all mingled together.

The light swallowed itself, a balloon
Deflating; somewhere in the darkness
A murmuring let itself go.


David Ferry, “Evening News II” from Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999). Copyright © 1999 by David Ferry. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations (The University of Chicago Press, 1999)
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Evening News II

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