Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Justice

Donald Justice would be 89 today, if he were still with us. His quiet voice lives on and strengthens with the years, while more strident and self-advertising poets of similar vintage seem headed, ultimately, for oblivion. What better way to celebrate Justice's birthday than with a poem? This one is from his second collection, Night Light - a collection, as one review noted, 'suffused with elegiac, elegant grief'. Indeed it is...

Bus Stop

Lights are burning 
In quiet rooms 
Where lives go on 
Resembling ours. 

The quiet lives 
That follow us— 
These lives we lead 
But do not own— 

Stand in the rain 
So quietly 
When we are gone, 
So quietly . . . 
And the last bus 
Comes letting dark 
Umbrellas out— 
Black flowers, black flowers. 

And lives go on. 
And lives go on 
Like sudden lights 
At street corners 

Or like the lights 
In quiet rooms 
Left on for hours, 
Burning, burning.

3 comments:

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