Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

One of my favorite poems—and, as my daughter pointed out, shaving-related

with 2 comments

I’ve always loved this poem and it’s one of the new I know by heart but I hadn’t thought of the shaving connection since I learned it before I resumed traditional wetshaving. (I once went on a kick of memorizing one poem a week, which went on for a while.) Donald Justice looms large in my legend because it was he who admitted me to the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa (whose name at the time was State University of Iowa).

Men at Forty
Donald Justice (b. 1925)

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 trying
His father’s 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.


Another one I liked and memorized is James Dickey’s The Heaven of Animals.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 March 2017 at 1:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I like it. Thanks for sharing. I am 40 years old with a 2 1/2 year old daughter, so I can relate to this. My wife and I are looking for a bigger house which unfortunately comes with a bigger mortgage. However, home prices are at all time highs, and there is very little inventory to choose from. It feels like a bubble, but who can time the market and predict where it will be in the future? I am hoping that an incremental rise in interest rates cools demand somewhat. Realtors that have been in the business for years, have never seen it like this before. It is multi-causal, but I do have to give the Obama Administration credit for a robust auto industry and home sales that are evidence of a strong economy.


    2 March 2017 at 1:44 pm

  2. Crickets are like living dinosaurs — what an unfortunate metaphor that seems, to one aged 47 years! Besides, they live in the field, behind my house. I’d rather think it was tree frogs, “spring peepers.” Mating displays may be fruitless, at this age, but the song would seem to convey more meaning, as the poem implies. Anurans are also well known for making a display of ontogeny.

    Thad Launderville

    2 March 2017 at 3:36 pm

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