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A Birthday Candle

Thirty today, I saw
The trees flare briefly like
The candles on a cake,
As the sun went down the sky,
A momentary flash,
Yet there was time to wish

—Donald Justice

from The Summer Anniversaries, 1960
Originally published in The New Yorker
Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT

Copyright 1960 by Donald Justice.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press from The Summer Anniversaries. Copyright 1960 by Donald Justice. For further permissions information, contact Wesleyan University Press,

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Donald Justice is the author of 14 poetry collections, including Collected Poems (Knopf, 2004). He taught for many years at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Learn more about Donald Justice at The Poetry Foundation.