Donald Justice

(12 August 1925 - 6 August 2004 / Miami / Florida)

Nostalgia And Complaint Of The Grandparents


Les morts
C’est sous terre;
Ça n’en sort
Guère.
LAFORGUE


Our diaries squatted, toad-like,
On dark closet ledges.
Forget-me-not and thistle
Decalcomaned the pages.
But where, where are they now,
All the sad squalors
Of those between-wars parlors?—
Cut flowers; and the sunlight spilt like soda
On torporous rugs; the photo
Albums all outspread ...
The dead
Don’t get around much anymore.


There was an hour when daughters
Practiced arpeggios;
Their mothers, awkward and proud,
Would listen, smoothing their hose—
Sundays, half-past five!
Do you recall
How the sun used to loll,
Lazily, just beyond the roof,
Bloodshot and aloof?
We thought it would never set.
The dead don’t get
Around much anymore.


Eternity resembles
One long Sunday afternoon.
No traffic passes; the cigar smoke
Curls in a blue cocoon.
Children, have you nothing
For our cold sakes?
No tea? No little tea cakes?
Sometimes now the rains disturb
Even our remote suburb.
There’s a dampness underground.
The dead don’t get around
Much anymore.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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