Weekly Poem: ‘Soul’

BY Mary Jo Brooks  March 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM EDT

By David Ferry


What am I doing inside this old man’s body?
I feel like I’m the insides of a lobster,
All thought, and all digestion, and pornographic
Inquiry, and getting about, and bewilderment,
And fear, avoidance of trouble, belief in what,
God knows, vague memories of friends, and what
They said last night, and seeing, outside of myself,
From here inside myself, my waving claws
Inconsequential, wavering, and my feelers
Preternatural, trembling, with their amazing
Troubling sensitivity to threat;
And I’m aware of and embarrassed by my ways
Of getting around, and my protective shell.
Where is it that she I loved has gone to, as
This cold sea water’s washing over my back?

David Ferry is the author of several books of poetry and translations. His collection “Bewilderment” won last year’s National Book Award for poetry. A profile of Ferry will air soon on the NewsHour. Read more about him here.