bike: 20 minutes
run: 3.1 miles
outdoor temp: 0 degrees / feels like -13
Inside today. Some Dickinson while I biked, a podcast (You are Good) while I ran — well, for most of my run. The last few minutes I listened to a playlist. Audio books and playlists make the time pass much faster when I’m on the treadmill.
I’m ready for the bitter cold to be done. Much less inspiration inside. Did I notice anything other than the single lightbulb reflecting in the dark window?
A poet that I like, Linda Pastan, died a few days ago. The first poem of hers that I read was “Vertical.” I found it just as I was starting to fall in love with poetry and the way it helped me to notice and be in wonder of a place. I spent a lot of time with that poem, even writing a response in which I used its first sentence to wander and wonder about trees. Since 2017, I’ve gathered and posted several of her poems, including:
- Vertical/ Linda Pastan
- excerpt from Flight/ Linda Pastan
- Autumn/ Linda Pastan
- Blizzard/ Linda Pastan
- I Am Learning To Abandon the World/ Linda Pastan
- Erosion/ Linda Pastan
- Imaginary Conversation/ Linda Pastan
And here’s one more I just found:
At My Desk/ Linda Pastan
To William Stafford
How many times
I have sat this way
with the poem’s intractable silence
between me and the world,
with the tree outside the window
my leaves are more than syllables
it seems to say.
I think of you
floating on the tide of language
so easily, giving only
a scissor kick now and then,
coming to shore
but hospitable place.
Still we share between us
a certain stubbornness,
rising each morning
to the blank page,
climbing the ladder of light
at the window all day,
listening, both of us,
as hard as we can.
added Feb 14, 2023: Rereading this poem, I remembered something Pastan had said about Stafford in her Paris Review interview:
Often when I sit at my desk unable to write, “blocked” as they put it, I open a Stafford book and start to read. He makes it sound so easy, almost conversational, that I find I have to answer him, and so I start to write. My first four or five lines may have a Stafford ring to them, but then my own voice kicks in and I am on my way. I loved and admired William Stafford both as a man and as a poet. I hate to use adjectives like wise or humble but they seem to fit him as comfortably, as unpretentiously, as an old sweater.