Linda Pastan

Late in October
August 16, 2011 Pastan Linda

Late in October


Late in October, I watch
it all unravel–the whole
autumn leafery
succumbing to rain.
At the moment
of their most intense beauty,
reds and yellows bleed
into each other
like dried paints on a palette–
those ghosts of pictures
never painted.

Perhaps beauty
is the mother of death,
not the other way around.
Perhaps the rain itself
is an answer: knives
of crystal, cleansing
and killing as it falls.
I turn from the window;
winter is coming next.
White will have
its own perfections.

Linda Pastan’s 14th book of poems, Insomnia (W. W. Norton, 2015), won the Towson University Prize for Literature. In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement.  In May, 2018 W. W. Norton published A Dog Runs Through It.