Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Day 839: Waiting for My Life

If there's one thing I love about the constant seeking out of poems for this blog it's the occasional great new poet finds. And one such poet is: Linda Pastan. Is this poem not perfect in its exposition, its imprinting of a vague notion into a tangible truth? 'Sometimes my life coughed and coughed: a stalled car about to catch' - is there a line more perfect? The whole poem startles, stuns, soothes.

Waiting For My Life - Linda Pastan

I waited for my life to start
for years, standing at bus stops
looking into the curved distance
thinking each bus was the wrong bus;
or lost in books where I would travel
without luggage from one page
to another; where the only breeze
was the rustle of pages turning,
and lives rose and set
in the violent colors of suns.

Sometimes my life coughed and coughed:
a stalled car about to catch,
and I would hold someone in my arms,
though it was always someone else I wanted.
Or I would board any bus, jostled
by thighs and elbows that knew
where they were going; collecting scraps
of talk, setting them down like bird song
in my notebook, where someday I would go
prospecting for my life.


  1. I love that feeling, when you find a poem by a poet you don't know yet, and it's just perfect, it makes you catch your breath. I felt like that when I read Judy Brown's poem, "The Ex-Angel" (never have I wanted to have written a poem so badly!). I'll post it below - a little share in return for all of yours! x

    The Ex-Angel – Judy Brown

    My ballroom shoulders were ruined
    by those wings. Now there’s hardly a scar,
    just a sheen on the skin as if the light
    falling right there had passed
    through frosted glass. As it has.

    I imagined them taking their leave
    of my back: the exit hole fist-sized;
    paramedics; a tussle of sinew and rag.
    But it wasn’t like that. When I turned
    my face from flying, they shrivelled

    like spiderplants freeing their young.
    Feathers husked into onion-skin,
    flaked, choking the shower.
    You’ll miss the sky, more than one
    person said. They were wrong.

    These days the strength of my body
    is held in my legs and I like it that way.
    I hung long enough like a doll
    from the beating white engines of God.
    (That kind of talk does no good.)

    You never forget the standing start,
    the torque of the upward stroke,
    the rowing into the sun. Yet I’d rather
    sweat here, down on the dance floor,
    tasting the street – if it weren’t for the birds.

    When I see a swan, like a last clench of snow
    at winter’s end, my eyes drizzle
    melted light, my nose starts to drip.
    Whatever I’ve done, it’s holy water still.
    I dispose of the tissues with due respect.

    1. Oh this is beautiful Cheryl, thanks so much for sharing! I will have to post it! Such lovely imagery and language, and winter- themed too. Gorgeous. Feel free to recommend poems to post - I love when people give me suggestions :)


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