FERRIS RAY PAXTON was a closet poet all of his life. In fact upon the release of his first book of poems, posthumously, there were friends and family members who remarked, “I had no idea he wrote poems!” But his close family knew. In fact his wife and children not only knew “Dad” as he was called by all, wrote poems, lyrics, and music all of his life in times of trouble or times of joy, they knew he only semi-secretly wished to see his works made public and appreciated.
That was why, after growing up in the farming town of Franklin, Nebraska, and why after serving his country in World War II across a variety of stations and even a stint in Normandy, Ferris moved his family to New York City after the war. He made his way through bar-tending school and managed the well-known Lincoln Hotel on Staten Island while he wrote, sang, and even saw a few of his songs appear on jukeboxes across the boroughs.
But despite his passion and his family’s hopes to see his poetry and music released on a larger scale, and in the face of economic and family demands we all face, his dream was not realized in his own lifetime. It would be years later, the dream still alive within his children, that his poems could finally, thanks to modern technology, be professionally self-published and released in paperback form to family and friends at his widow’s 90th birthday celebration at a restaurant’s dining hall in 2014 in Midland Beach.
We, his family, hope you enjoy Dad’s poems as much as we do. We hope this is one small victory for closet poets everywhere, and we hope the love Dad felt for his country, his home, his wife and children, can all live on forever through these pages.
Books by Ferris Ray Paxton