“Doing Without” by Donald Justice
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
's an interesting custom, involving such in- visible items as the food that's not on the table, the clothes that are not on the back the radio whose music is silence. Doing without is a great protector of reputations since all places one cannot go are fabulous, and only the rare and enlightened plowman in his field or on his mountain does not overrate what he does not or cannot have. Saluting through their windows of cathedral glass those restaurants we must not enter (unless like burglars we become subject to arrest) we greet with our twinkling eyes the faces of others who do without, the lady with the fishing pole, and the man who looks amused to have discovered on a walk another piece of firewood.
from Gathering Firewood, 1974
Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT
Copyright 1974 by David Ray.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press from The Summer Anniversaries. Copyright 1974 by David Ray. For further permissions information, contact Wesleyan University Press, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Poet
David Ray is the author of 22 poetry collections, including Hemingway: A Desperate Life (Whirlybird Press, 2011).
Learn more about David Ray.