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Donald Justice 
Donald Justice was born in Miami, Florida, in 1925. A graduate of the University of Miami, he attended the universities of North Carolina, Stanford, and Iowa. His books include New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995); A Donald Justice Reader (1991); The Sunset Maker (1987), a collection of poems, stories and a memoir; Selected Poems (1979), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Departures (1973); Night Light (1967); and The Summer Anniversaries (1959), which received the Academy's Lamont Poetry Selection. He has held teaching positions at Syracuse University, the University of California at Irvine, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Iowa, and from 1982 until his retirement in 1992, he taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1991 and has received grants in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003. He lives with his wife, Jean Ross, in Iowa City.

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Donald Justice
(1925 - 2004)

 

Men at Forty

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
The rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His fatherís tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

1967
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