Linda Pastan

The Quarry, Pontaise
June 24, 2016 Pastan Linda

The Quarry, Pontaise

Pissarro, 1875


To enter into the greens

of this picture—

forest, emerald, jade–

is to drown in the bristle of

pine needles or in leaves

that are more than leaves

the way landscapes in dreams

are more than themselves,

dredged as they are

in the colors of sleep.

On the long road winding its way

through the painting,

I can just make out

a small woman, dwarfed

in this universe of color

but alive still

in the green, intractable

mysteries of paint.




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.