Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Winter Ode

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

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