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’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.