Linda Pastan

Deep in These Woods

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

Deep in These Woods

Darling, how do you make your garden grow
Deep in these woods, drowning in so much shade
That even hardy May apples are slow
To rise above the shadows where they wade?
Are you a threat to every living tree?
We lean against two trunks, resting our backs
But though your craggy face is what I see
I know that somewhere you conceal an axe.
When he planned Eden did great God conceive
Flowers that flourish with no need of light?
And was there nothing Adam hid from Eve?
And doesn’t the cereus bloom at night?
You place a burst of lilac in my hand
And sacrifice an oak. I almost understand.


Reprinted from The Imperfect Paradise, Norton, 1988 by permission of the author.


Linda Pastan is the author of fifteen book of poems, most recently A Dog Runs Through It (W.W. Norton, 2018) and Insomnia (W.W. Norton, 2015). Two of her books were finalists for the National Book Award: PM/AM (1982) and Carnival Evening (1998). She was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991-1995 and winner of the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Other honors include the Dylan Thomas award, a Pushcart Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry, and the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Chevy Chase, MD. To read more by this author: Evolving City Issue, Vol. 8:4, Fall 2007 DC Places Issue, Vol. 7:3, Summer 2006 Wartime Issue, Vol. 7:2, Spring 2006 Six Poems, Vol. 6:3, Summer 2005 Whitman Issue, Vol. 6:1, Winter 2004