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Men at Forty

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 tying
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.


I found this poem to have a tone of gloominess. I think it is easily understood but uses a large amount of imagery. I think the door in the beginning is supposed to be a metaphor, maybe to closing the door on a younger life? Since this poem is about middle age. To me, the most powerful image is the one of the man looking in the mirror and seeing a boy learning how to type. I think this image really captures what the point of the poem is.

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