It is true that, as he said, the horses,
When the lightning signaled something
Along the horizon, acknowledged the signaling,
Moving about in extraordinary beauty
Of shifting and neighing, flicker of ear,
Changings of pace, slidings, turnings,
The delicate legs finding out something
The ground could tell them, interpreting
The sky’s statement of oncoming darkness.
The storm was doing whatever it does,
Matrix of signaling, along the horizon.
In the valley the houses were brilliantly
Clear, the storm’s darkness was making
Possible a perfect delineation,
The houses’ edges brimming with light.
David Ferry is a poet and translator. His most recent book of poems, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press), won the 2012 National Book Award. In 2011 he was awarded the Ruth B. Lilly Prize “for lifetime achievement,” by the Poetry Foundation. His most recent book of translations is The Georgics of Virgil (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005). He is currently translating Virgil’s Aeneid. His On This Side of the River: Selected Poems (2012) was published by The Waywiser Press in the U.K. (updated 10/2014)
Ferry’s translation The Odes of Horace was reviewed in AGNI 48 by Christopher Davis.