Saturday, November 06, 2004

Donald Justice

“Vague Memory from Childhood” by Donald Justice

It was the end of day—
Vast far clouds
In the zenith darkening
At the end of day.

The voices of my aunts
Sounded through an open window.
Bird-speech cantankerous in a high tree mingled
With the voices of my aunts.

I was playing alone,
Caught up in a sort of dream,
With sticks and twigs pretending,
Playing there alone

In the dust.
And a lamp came on indoors,
Printing a frail gold geometry
On the dust.

Shadows came engulfing
The great charmed sycamore.
It was the end of day.
Shadows came engulfing.

From a nice article called "The memory of Donald Justice" by David Yezzi (New Criterion)

The author also quotes Eurdora Welty and Justide himself:

The greatest confluence of all is that which makes up the human memory—the individual human memory… . The memory is a living thing—it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives—the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.
—Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings

Certain moments will never change nor stop being— My mother’s face all smiles, all wrinkles soon; The rock wall building, built, collapsed then, fallen; Our upright loosening downward slowly out of tune— All fixed into place now, all rhyming with each other.
—Donald Justice, “Thinking about the Past”

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