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Elegy

Text of Poem

Listen, my friend, shuttered in
your small room, winter is gone.
I tell you spring now wakens
furred buds on the boughs of pussy
willows, at the field’s edge a lark
nests among weed stalks harsh with
the wind’s whistle. Maples unfold
new leaves, oaks wait for the warm
May sun, violets rise from the curled
clusters and wild plums cover thorns
with white blossoms, even watercress
shows color at the spring’s mouth.
You have seen flocks of geese print
their flight on the wide innocent sky
over Iowa, and bundled farmers on bright
red tractors smooth the fields for sowing.
Listen, you can hear the cock pheasant’s
cry while April rain sends up shooting
stars and jack-in-the-pulpits. Fill your
mind’s eye with the hill beyond the big
barn where she last watched an autumn sunset.

First Line
Listen, my friend, shuttered in
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
1966
Original Citation
Today (21 Jan. 1966) 13.
Republication
Complete Poems
160
Hearst Collections
Word Count
136
Poetic Form
open
Bibliographic Notes

Justesen is a Danish name. Iowa mentioned in this poem. Complete omits Justensen for "my friend."

Observations
Justesen reference is unclear. Quick Google search turns up an Axel Justesen who was around the same age as Hearst and died of the flu during WWI, but I don't know if that is the reference (https://www.library.uni.edu/collections/special-collections/university-archives/getting-sick-school-influenza-other-illnesses). Justesen mentioned in "The Inevitable Words Like Signposts"
Themes