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Nostalgia And Complaint Of The Grandparents

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

UE      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.

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Donald Justice

(August 12, 1925 – August 6, 2004) was an American teacher of writing and poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1980. In summing up Just…

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