By Donald Justice
This celebratory quantity offers us the complete profession of Donald Justice among covers, together with a wealthy handful of poems written for the reason that New and chosen Poems used to be released in 1995. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Justice has been hailed by way of his modern Anthony Hecht as “the excellent inheritor of Wallace Stevens.” In poems that embody the prior, its terrors and reconciliations, Justice has develop into our poet of dwelling reminiscence. The vintage American depression in his titles calls forth the tenor of our collective passages: “Bus Stop,” “Men at Forty,” “Dance classes of the Thirties,” “The Small White church buildings of the Small White Towns.” This grasp of classical shape has present in the yankee scene, and within the American tongue, all these virtues of our literature and panorama sought through Emerson and Henry James. For part a century he has endeavored, with painterly vividness and plainspoken splendor, to make these neighborhood perspectives a part of the literary background from which he has so frequently taken solace, and inspiration.
School Letting Out
(Fourth or 5th Grade)
The afternoons of going domestic from school
Past the younger fruit timber and the wintry weather flowers.
The schoolyard cries fading in the back of you then,
And small boys operating to capture up, as though
It have been an honor someway to be near—
All is forgiven now, even the dogs,
Who, straining at their tethers, used to bark,
Not from anger yet a few mystery joy.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Qxd 6/17/04 10:27 AM Page 18 Here in Katmandu 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 r37 l38 We have climbed the mountain. There’s nothing more to do. It is terrible to come down To the valley Where, amidst many flowers, One thinks of snow, As, formerly, amidst snow, Climbing the mountain, One thought of flowers, Tremulous, ruddy with dew, In the valley. One caught their scent coming down. It is difficult to adjust, once down, To the absence of snow.
It is the lurch and slur the world makes turning. It is the sound of turning, of a wheel Or hand-cranked grinder turning, though more pomp To this, more fiery particles struck off At each revolve; and the last turn reveals The darker side of what was light before. qxd 6/17/04 10:27 AM Page 33 Six stars shine through the dark, and half a moon! Night birds go spiralling upward with a flash Of silvery underwings, silver ascendings, The light of stars and of the moon their light, And water lilies open to the moon, The moon in wrinkles on the water’s face.
I publish of my folk how they have prospered With something in the eyes perhaps inherent, Or great-winged nose, bespeaking an acquaintance, Not casual and not recent, with a monster, Citing, as an example of some courage, That aunt, long gone, who kept one in a bird cage Thirty-odd years in shape of a green parrot, Nor overcame her fears, yet missed no feeding, Thrust in the crumbs with thimbles on her fingers. I had an uncle, long of arm and hairy, Who seldom spoke in any lady’s hearing Lest that his tongue should light on aught unseemly, Yet he could treat most kindly with us children Touching that beast, wholly imaginary, Which, hunting once, his hounds had got the wind of.