Tuesday Poem – Why Are Your Poems So Dark? – Linda Pastan

Isn’t the moon dark too,   

most of the time?   


And doesn’t the white page   

seem unfinished   


without the dark stain   

of alphabets?   


When God demanded light,   

he didn’t banish darkness.   


Instead he invented   

ebony and crows   


and that small mole   

on your left cheekbone.   


Or did you mean to ask   

“Why are you sad so often?”   


Ask the moon.   

Ask what it has witnessed. 

(c) Linda Pastan


I discovered and fell in love with Linda Pastan’s poetry several days ago while searching for poems about bread.  I found a lovely one by Linda which you can read here.  And I spent a delightful few hours discovering and reading more of her poetry.  I chose the one above because there is also a great film on you tube of Linda reading the poem…and because I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It is so light and simple, yet so profound.

Why Are Your Poems so Dark?  is from her book QUEEN OF A RAINY COUNTRY. Many thanks Linda, for arranging  permission for it to be published on Tuesday Poem.

An extract from Linda’s page with the American Academy of Poets reads thus.

In 1932, Linda Pastan was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx. She graduated from Radcliffe College and received an MA from Brandeis University. She is the author of Traveling Light (W. W. Norton & Co., 2011); Queen of a Rainy Country (2006); The Last Uncle (2002); Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998 (1998), which was nominated for the National Book Award; An Early Afterlife (l995); Heroes In Disguise (1991), The Imperfect Paradise (1988), a nominee for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; PM/AM: New and Selected Poems (l982), which was nominated for the National Book Award; The Five Stages of Grief (l978), and A Perfect Circle of Sun (l971). Click here for the whole page which also includes more of her poetry.

Return to Tuesday Poem when you are ready and read work from another American poet on the hub page; this week edited by Eileen Moller.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – Why Are Your Poems So Dark? – Linda Pastan”

  1. This is new poet for me, Helen – I haven’t encountered her before either! I particularly love the ‘Bread’ poem – those last lines with the Hansel and Gretal crumbs are so magical. Will have to go on a reading spree of Linda’s poetry, like yourself! 🙂

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