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 was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991-1995.  In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement. Her book, Insomnia,  came out in 2015 and A Dog Runs Through It in 2018. Almost An Elegy: New and Later Selected Poems, will be published in 2022.