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Best Famous Linda Pastan Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Linda Pastan poems. This is a select list of the best famous Linda Pastan poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Linda Pastan poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Linda Pastan poems.

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Written by Linda Pastan |

The New Dog

 Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities--

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen.

Written by Linda Pastan |


 After Adam Zagajewski

I am child to no one, mother to a few,
wife for the long haul.
On fall days I am happy with my dying brethren, the leaves, but in spring my head aches from the flowery scents.
My husband fills a room with Mozart which I turn off, embracing the silence as if it were an empty page waiting for me alone to fill it.
He digs in the black earth with his bare hands.
I scrub it from the creases of his skin, longing for the kind of perfection that happens in books.
My house is my only heaven.
A red dog sleeps at my feet, dreaming of the manic wings of flushed birds.
As the road shortens ahead of me I look over my shoulder to where it curves back to childhood, its white line bisecting the real and the imagined the way the ridgepole of the spine divides the two parts of the body, leaving the soft belly in the center vulnerable to anything.
As for my country, it blunders along as well intentioned as Eve choosing cider and windfalls, oblivious to the famine soon to come.
I stir pots, bury my face in books, or hold a telephone to my ear as if its cord were the umbilicus of the world whose voices still whisper to me even after they have left their bodies.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Jump Cabling

 When our cars touched
When you lifted the hood of mine
To see the intimate workings underneath,
When we were bound together
By a pulse of pure energy,
When my car like the princess
In the tale woke with a start, 
I thought why not ride the rest of the way together.

More great poems below...

Written by Linda Pastan |

The Happiest Day

 It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered in the background, part of the scenery like the houses I had grown up in, and if they would be torn down later that was something I knew but didn't believe.
Our children were asleep or playing, the youngest as new as the new smell of the lilacs, and how could I have guessed their roots were shallow and would be easily transplanted.
I didn't even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt on melon were what I dwelt on, though in truth they simply made the fruit taste sweeter.
So we sat on the porch in the cool morning, sipping hot coffee.
Behind the news of the day-- strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere-- I could see the top of your dark head and thought not of public conflagrations but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.
If someone could stop the camera then.
if someone could only stop the camera and ask me: are you happy? perhaps I would have noticed how the morning shone in the reflected color of lilac.
Yes, I might have said and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Home For Thanksgiving

 The gathering family
throws shadows around us,
it is the late afternoon
Of the family.
There is still enough light to see all the way back, but at the windows that light is wasting away.
Soon we will be nothing but silhouettes: the sons' as harsh as the fathers'.
Soon the daughters will take off their aprons as trees take off their leaves for winter.
Let us eat quickly-- let us fill ourselves up.
the covers of the album are closing behind us.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Emily Dickinson

 We think of hidden in a white dress
among the folded linens and sachets
of well-kept cupboards, or just out of sight
sending jellies and notes with no address
to all the wondering Amherst neighbors.
Eccentric as New England weather the stiff wind of her mind, stinging or gentle, blew two half imagined lovers off.
Yet legend won't explain the sheer sanity of vision, the serious mischief of language, the economy of pain.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Wind Chill

 The door of winter
is frozen shut, 

and like the bodies
of long extinct animals, cars 

lie abandoned wherever
the cold road has taken them.
How ceremonious snow is, with what quiet severity it turns even death to a formal arrangement.
Alone at my window, I listen to the wind, to the small leaves clicking in their coffins of ice.

Written by Linda Pastan |


 Because the shad
are swimming
in our waters now,

breaching the skin
of the river with their
tarnished silvery fins,

heading upstream
straight for our tables
where already

knives and forks gleam
in anticipation, these trees
in the woods break

into flower--small, white
flags surrendering
to the season.

Written by Linda Pastan |

To A Daughter Leaving Home

 When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

Written by Linda Pastan |

Petit Dejeuner

 I sing a song
of the croissant
and of the wily French
who trick themselves daily
back to the world
for its sweet ceremony.
Ah to be reeled up into morning on that crisp, buttery hook.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Prosody 101

 When they taught me that what mattered most
was not the strict iambic line goose-stepping
over the page but the variations
in that line and the tension produced
on the ear by the surprise of difference,
I understood yet didn't understand
exactly, until just now, years later
in spring, with the trees already lacy
and camellias blowsy with middle age,
I looked out and saw what a cold front had done
to the garden, sweeping in like common language,
unexpected in the sensuous
extravagance of a Maryland spring.
There was a dark edge around each flower as if it had been outlined in ink instead of frost, and the tension I felt between the expected and actual was like that time I came to you, ready to say goodbye for good, for you had been a cold front yourself lately, and as I walked in you laughed and lifted me up in your arms as if I too were lacy with spring instead of middle aged like the camellias, and I thought: so this is Poetry!

Written by Linda Pastan |

A New Poet

 Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods.
You don't see its name in the flower books, and nobody you tell believes in its odd color or the way its leaves grow in splayed rows down the whole length of the page.
In fact the very page smells of spilled red wine and the mustiness of the sea on a foggy day - the odor of truth and of lying.
And the words are so familiar, so strangely new, words you almost wrote yourself, if only in your dreams there had been a pencil or a pen or even a paintbrush, if only there had been a flower.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Something About The Trees

 I remember what my father told me:
There is an age when you are most yourself.
He was just past fifty then, Was it something about the trees that make him speak? There is an age when you are most yourself.
I know more than I did once.
Was it something about the trees that make him speak? Only a single leaf had turned so far.
I know more than I did once.
I used to think he'd always be the surgeon.
Only a single leaf had turned so far, Even his body kept its secrets.
I used to think he'd always be the surgeon, My mother was the perfect surgeon's wife.
Even his body kept its secrets.
I thought they both would live forever.
My mother was the perfect surgeon's wife, I can still see her face at thirty.
I thought they both would live forever.
I thought I'd always be their child.
I can still see her face at thirty.
When will I be most myself? I thought I'd always be their child.
In my sleep it's never winter.
When will I be most myself? I remember what my father told me.
In my sleep it's never winter.
He was just past fifty then.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Linda Pastan - Vermilion

 Pierre Bonnard would enter
the museum with a tube of paint
in his pocket and a sable brush.
Then violating the sanctity of one of his own frames he'd add a stroke of vermilion to the skin of a flower.
Just so I stopped you at the door this morning and licking my index finger, removed an invisible crumb from your vermilion mouth.
As if at the ritual moment of departure I had to show you still belonged to me.
As if revision were the purest form of love.

Written by Linda Pastan |

Meditation By The Stove

 I have banked the fires
of my body
into a small but steady blaze
here in the kitchen
where the dough has a life of its own,
breathing under its damp cloth
like a sleeping child;
where the real child plays under the table,
pretending the tablecloth is a tent,
practicing departures; where a dim
brown bird dazzled by light
has flown into the windowpane
and lies stunned on the pavement--
it was never simple, even for birds,
this business of nests.
The innocent eye sees nothing, Auden says, repeating what the snake told Eve, what Eve told Adam, tired of gardens, wanting the fully lived life.
But passion happens like an accident I could let the dough spill over the rim of the bowl, neglecting to punch it down, neglecting the child who waits under the table, the mild tears already smudging her eyes.
We grow in such haphazard ways.
Today I feel wiser than the bird.
I know the window shuts me in, that when I open it the garden smells will make me restless.
And I have banked the fires of my body into a small domestic flame for others to warm their hands on for a while.