Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday night poem: "Men at Forty" 

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
They rediscover
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.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 04, 07:53:00 PM:

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Fri Jun 04, 08:37:00 PM:

looking across the pasture fence
dividing all that is
into what was
and what may be


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 04, 11:21:00 PM:

I didn't realize he had died. May he Rest in Peace.
Steve Lohr  

By Blogger rcw, at Sat Jun 05, 05:33:00 AM:

Thank you for that, TH. Beautiful.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 05, 04:00:00 PM:

Moving. Do I get brownie points for getting it at 35, or does this simply mean I'm going to kick it about 5 years early.

- Daniel  

By Blogger Psota, at Sat Jun 05, 07:10:00 PM:

getting a little dusty in here...  

By Blogger VC-Ron, at Sun Jun 06, 03:15:00 PM:

That's OK, it is good dust.
Thanks, TH  

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?