Donald Justice, “Nostalgia and Complaint of the Grandparents”

Les morts
C’est sous terre;
Ça n’en sort

Our diaries squatted, toadlike,

On dark closet ledges.

Forget-me-not and thistle

Decalcomaned the pages.

But where, where are they now,

All the sad squalors

Of those between-wars parlors? —

Cut flowers; and the sunlight spilt like soda

On toporous rugs; the photo

Albums all outspread …

The dead

          Don’t get around much anymore.

There was an hour when daughters

Practiced arpeggios;

Their mothers, awkward and proud,

Would listen, smoothing their hose —

Sundays, half-past five!

Do you recall

How the sun used to loll,

Lazily, just beyond the roof,

Bloodshot and aloof?

We thought it would never set.

The dead don’t get

     Around much anymore.

Eternity resembles

One long Sunday afternoon.

No traffic passes; the cigar smoke

Coils in a blue cocoon.

Children, have you nothing

For our cold sakes?

No tea? No little tea cakes?

Sometimes now the rains disturb

Even our remote suburb.

The dead don’t get around

Much anymore.

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