The Quarrel

By Linda Pastan b. 1932 Linda Pastan
If there were a monument   
to silence, it would not be   
the tree whose leaves   
murmur continuously   
among themselves;   

nor would it be the pond   
whose seeming stillness   
is shattered   
by the quicksilver   
surfacing of fish.   

If there were a monument   
to silence, it would be you   
standing so upright, so unforgiving,   
your mute back deflecting   
every word I say.

Poem copyright © 2007 by Linda Pastan, whose most recent book of poetry is “Queen of a Rainy Country,” W. W. Norton & Co., 2006 . Reprinted from “Solo Café 2: Oppression & Forgiveness,” Vol. 2, Solo Press, 2007, by permission of Linda Pastan.

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Poet Linda Pastan b. 1932

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Linda  Pastan


Poet Linda Pastan was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Pastan won the Mademoiselle poetry prize (Sylvia Plath was the runner-up). Immediately following graduation, however, she decided to give up writing poetry in order to concentrate on raising her family. After ten years at home, her husband urged her to return . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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