Guest poem submitted by David W:
(Poem #1967) A Winter Ode to the Old Men of Lummus Park, Miami, Florida
Risen from rented rooms, old ghosts Come back to haunt our parks by day, They crept up Fifth Street through the crowd, Unseeing and almost unseen, Halting before the shops for breath, Still proud, pretending to admire The fat hens dressed and hung for flies There, or perhaps the lone, dead fern Dressing the window of a small Hotel. Winter had blown them south-- How many? Twelve in Lummus Park I counted, shivering where they stood, A little thicket of thin trees, And more on benches, turning with The sun, wan heliotropes, all day. O you who wear against the breast The torturous flannel undervest Winter and summer, yet are cold, Poor cracked thermometers stuck now At zero everlastingly, Old men, bent like your walking sticks As with the pressure of some hand, Surely they must have thought you strong To lean on you so hard, so long!
Donald Justice might be my favorite poet. It's difficult to say for sure, but I can say that his work has influenced me more than any other's. He is the "master of nostalgia", but I think that the intimacy and elegance of his work are the major allures for me. Here is one of my favorites. It isn't anthologized as much as some others. If anybody has ever used the word "heliotropes" with more effect, I haven't seen it. He slips that Latinate polysyllable in, but you might notice it's a little lonely. The simplicity of his language may be part of what makes it feel intimate. One of his more popular poems "Men At Forty" is similar in this respect. If you are interested, here is a short bio for Justice: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/39 David. [Minstrels Links] Donald Justice: Poem #503: Anonymous Drawing Poem #1343: Poem to be read at 3am Poem #1647: Men at Forty