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Linda Pastan


the snow
has forgotten
how to stop
it falls
at the glass
a silk windsock
of snow
under the porch light
tangling trees
which bend
like old women
in their own
snow drifts
up to the step
over the doorsill
a pointillist’s blur
the wedding
of form and motion
shaping itself
to the wish of
any object it touches
chairs become
laps of snow
the moon could be
breaking apart
and falling
over the eaves
over the roof
a white bear
shaking its paw
at the window
splitting the hive
of winter
snow stinging
the air
I pull a comforter
of snow
up to my chin
and tumble
to sleep
as the whole
of silence
falls out of the

From Carnival Evening (W. W. Norton & Co., 1999).
Used here with permission.

Linda Pastan (1932 – 2023) grew up in New York City, graduated from Radcliffe College, and received an MA from Brandeis University. Author of 15 volumes of poetry, two of which were finalists for the National Book Award, she served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991 to 1994 and, in 2003, won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Linda’s work often focused on the ordinary moments of life: domestic activities, familial relationships, aging, fear, loss…and dogs, which she loved.



Post New Comment:
Janet Leahy:
I love to watch the "whole alphabet of silence fall out of the sky"
Posted 01/28/2022 05:24 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful language and images.
Posted 01/27/2022 03:33 PM
"chairs become/ laps of snow" - this is such a wonderful image!
Posted 01/27/2022 12:36 PM
Felt as if I were in the blizzard, Linda! Especially like, "tangling trees that bend link old women snarled in their own knitting."
Posted 01/27/2022 11:44 AM
Brilliant images and form keeps reader moving fast.
Posted 01/27/2022 09:32 AM
Nabby Dog:
Linda Pastan is one of our most distinguished contemporary poets and this wonderful poem is one example of why she is held in such high regard.
Posted 01/27/2022 09:05 AM
Blizzards can be beautiful. I like best the image of the silk windsock.
Posted 01/27/2022 08:59 AM
Gilbert Allen:
Well seen and deftly phrased--a fine poem.
Posted 01/27/2022 08:57 AM
Kay, Im an longtime Linda Pastan fan as well. Good to see shes still doing excellent work.
Posted 01/27/2022 08:52 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this poem with its snowfall effect as unique photographic images fall faster than snow flakes in a blizzard. My favorite metaphors: "tangling trees which bend like old women snarled in their own knitting" and "a white bear shaking its paw at the window."
Posted 01/27/2022 08:28 AM
Kay N. Sanders:
Lovely, lovely. In the 1990s I had her poem Crocuses posted on the wall of my workspace. I love it still.
Posted 01/27/2022 07:47 AM
So much beauty of image and language!
Posted 01/27/2022 05:48 AM

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