Traveling Light: Poems

W.W. Norton   2011

Beauty ages and grows dim, but that is no less a reason to celebrate i ts evanescent quality as depicted in Linda Pastan’s collection of poems. For the potency of past memories is their timeless nature that will endure all, as in “The Burglary,” “ mother holding a shining ladle/in her hand,/serving the broth/to children who will forget/to polish her silver, forget even/to lock the house...” Or “On Seeing an Old Photograph,” “Why are the young so beautiful—/a foal or a fledgling sparrow, head/...even an adolescent boy, awkwardness/ shadowed by grace, in his own/invisible force field of desire?/...But out of the frame of the picture,/somewhere beyond that very window,/I was still waiting to be born.” This connection is again echoed in the personification and metaphors of “Years After the Garden,” in which, “...The angel still waits with his flaming sword: flowers and vegetables, forests tremble./ Innocence alone will never save us./How beautiful the world is in the morning...” In “Boundaries,” a consideration of Monet’s Water Lillies, Pastan notes the slowness of certain cells to notice death has occurred, “...For a while/the moons of her nails kept rising,/the hair kept growing from the apex/of her widow’s peak./Now by a barbed wire fence/that divides two countries,/the invisible roots of an old tree/spread their living network/ underground, in all directions.” Traveling Light: Poems will enhance your senses and perceptions of past, present, and future.

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