Friday, June 04, 2010
I reread a poem by the father of an old Iowa City friend, the late Donald Justice. I have not read it in at least 25 years, and I did not understand it then. I do now. Since poets crave immortality, I believe he would be happy that I've reproduced it below:
Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to room they will not be
Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirrors
The face of the boy as he practices tying
His father's tie there in secret,
And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.