by Donald Justice

Donald Justice

The Man Closing Up," from Night Light" (1967),
would make his bed,
If he could sleep on it.
He would make his bed with white sheets
And disappear into the white,
Like a man diving,
If he could be certain
That the light
Would not keep him awake,
The light that reaches
To the bottom.
dour vision of life's journey: from "Sestina on Six Words by Weldon Kees"
There is no way to ease the burden.
The voyage leads on from harm to harm,
A land of others and of silence.
"The Miami of Other Days"
The winter streets an orchestra of horns
And gods slept under tabernacle tents
That sprang up overnight on circus grounds
Like giant toadstools yearning for respectability.
In a portrait of himself at age seven he writes :
sometimes he would squat among the foul weeds of the vacant lot,
Waiting for dusk and someone dear to come
And whip him down the street, but gently, home.
"Poem to Be Read at 3 A.M."
Excepting the diner
On the outskirts
The town of Ladora
At 3 A.M.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second story room
A single light.
A more recent poem on the Great Depression shows his cynical side:
Agriculture embraced Industry,
Mammothly, on public walls.
Meanwhile we camped out underneath
Great smiles on billboards fading.
How shall I speak of Doom, and ours in special,
But as of something altogether common ?

Last updated January 14, 2019