Donald Justice

Donald Justice

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(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 Justice's career David Orr wrote, "In most ways, Justice was no different from any number of solid, quiet older writers devoted to traditional short poems.
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Villanelle at Sundown

Turn your head
The light is turning yellow
The river seems enriched thereby, not to say deepened
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Dear ghosts, dear presences,
O my dear parents,
Why were you so sad on porches, whispering
What great melancholies were loosed among our swings
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Ode to a Dressmakers Dummy

Papier-mache body; blue-and-black cotton jersey cover
Metal stand
Instructions included
— Sears,
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Variations On A Text By Vallejo

Me moriré en Paris con aguacero
I will die in Miami in the sun,
On a day when the sun is very bright,
A day like the days I remember, a day like other days,
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The Tourist from Syracuse

One of those men who can be a car salesman or a tourist from Syracuse or a hired assassin
—  John D
You would not recognize me
Mine is the face which blooms
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To A Ten-Months Child

Late arrival,
One would think of blaming
For hesitating so
Who, setting his hand to
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Nostalgia Of The Lakefronts

Cities burn behind us; the lake glitters
A tall loudspeaker is announcing prizes;
Another, by the lake, the times of cruises
Childhood, once vast with terrors and surprises,
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On A Painting By Patient B Of The Independence State Hospital For The Insane

1 These seven houses have learned to face one another,
But not at the expected angles
Those silly brown lumps,
That are probably meant for hills and not other houses,
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In Memory Of The Unknown Poet Robert Boardman Vaughn

But the essential advantage for a poet is not, to have a beautiful world with which to deal: it is to be able to see beneath both beauty and ugliness; to see the boredom, and the horror, and the glory
It was his story
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Men at Forty

Men at
Learn to close
The doors to rooms they will not
Coming back to
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Loves Strategems

But these maneuverings to avoid The touching of hands,
These shifts to keep the eyes employed On objects more or less neutral (As honor, for time being, commands) Will hardly prevent their downfall
Stronger medicines are needed
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In Bertrams Garden

Jane looks down at her organdy
As if it somehow were the thing disgraced,
For being there, on the floor, in the dirt,
And she catches it up about her waist,
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The Evening of the Mind

Now comes the evening of the mind
Here are the fireflies twitching in the blood;
Here is the shadow moving down the
Where you sit reading by the garden wall
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Men at Thirty

Thirty today,
The trees flare briefly
The candles upon a cake As the sun went down the sky,
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This poem is not addressed to you
You may come into it briefly, But no one will find you here, no one
You will have changed before the poem will
Even while you sit there, unmovable, You have begun to vanish
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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
And disappear into the white,
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