* Linda Pastan, apples & the friday influence

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.

*manzanas*
*manzanas*

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.

***

Happy appling!

Jose

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.

* Your guest is as good as mine…

Just a quick note to promote the latest issue of Stirring: A Literary Collection!

I served as Guest Editor for this issue and had the honor of reading through submissions.  Lots of good stuff.

Below is an example of some of the fine work to be found in this issue.

your nest is as good as - ok i'll stop...
your nest is as good as – ok i’ll stop…

Fontanelle – David Mohan

After your birth your head
lay in its nest,
a new laid egg.

It was flecked with hair
like straw. I felt
the crack beneath your skin.

At the centre
where the skull dipped,
the scalp went soft.

Each day 
we cradled the place
that smelt like sleep.

It had a name
like the first burst
of the source.

Out of the dark,
the stuff of birth,
you rested,

the wound
to your long quiet
beginning to seal.

***

Check out the rest here.

Special shout-out to Erin Elizabeth Smith for this opportunity!

Happy nesting!

Jose