Trav­el­ing Light: Poems

Lin­da Pastan
  • Review
By – September 1, 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,” “…my 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.
Deb­o­rah Schoen­e­man, is a for­mer Eng­lish teacher/​Writing Across the Cur­ricu­lum Cen­ter Coor­di­na­tor at North Shore Hebrew Acad­e­my High School and coed­i­tor of Mod­ern Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture: A Library of Lit­er­ary Crit­i­cism, Vol. VI, pub­lished in 1997.

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