This week on the Influence: Linda Pastan!
What moves me about the lyric below is how it follows the turns of simple tone and lets the subtleties gleam.
What does that mean?
Peep the line: maybe the wind would wind itself – with its alliterative w’s, but also how the word wind turns over in meaning and pronunciations from noun to verb, seamlessly.
I’ve always marveled at Pastan’s way with the line. Not every poem has to go for the jugular. This one gets you at the sinew of mortality.
In the Orchard – Linda Pastan *
Why are these old, gnarled trees
so beautiful, while I am merely
old and gnarled?
If I had leaves, perhaps, or apples…
if I had bark instead
of this lined skin,
maybe the wind would wind itself
around my limbs
in its old sinuous dance.
I shall bite into an apple
and swallow the seeds.
I shall come back as a tree.
p.s. Be sure to check out the latest Stirring: a literary collection featuring work from past Influence feature Adeeba Talukder and a series of poems by yours truly. Check out the work here.
* originally published in Plume.
** photo found here.