Two Poems, by Linda Pastan

Two Poems
~Linda Pastan

 

Imaginary Conversation  

 

You tell me to live each day

as if it were my last.  This is in the kitchen

where before coffee I complain

of the day ahead—that obstacle race

of minutes and hours,

grocery stores and doctors.

 

But why the last?  I ask.  Why not

live each day as if it were the first–

all raw astonishment?   Eve rubbing

her eyes awake that first morning;

the sun coming up

like an ingénue in the East.

 

You grind the coffee

with the small roar of a mind

trying to clear itself.  I set

the table, glance out the window

where dew has baptized every

living surface.

 

 

In the Orchard

 

Why are these old, gnarled trees

so beautiful, while I am merely

old and gnarled?

 

If I had leaves, perhaps, or apples…

if I had bark instead

of this lined skin,

 

maybe the wind would wind itself

around my limbs

in its old sinuous dance.

 

I shall bite into an apple

and swallow the seeds.

I shall come back as a tree.

 

 

Linda Pastan‘s many awards include the Dylan Thomas award, a Pushcart Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, in 2003. She is the author of over twelve books of poetry.  Her PM/AM: New and Selected Poems (1982) and Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968–1998 (1998) were finalists for the National Book Award; The Imperfect Paradise (1988) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her recent collections include The Last Uncle (2001), Queen of a Rainy Country (2006) and Traveling Light (2011). She lives in Potomac, Maryland.

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