Donald Justice
Men At Forty (1967)


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

They rediscover

The face of the boy as he practices tying

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.