I Am Learning To Abandon the World

By Linda Pastan b. 1932 Linda Pastan
I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.

Linda Pastan, “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” from PM/AM: New and Selected Poems (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982). Copyright © 1982 by Linda Pastan. Reprinted with the permission of the Jean V. Naggar Agency, Inc. on behalf of the author.

Source: Poetry (September 1981).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 1981 issue of Poetry magazine

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September 1981
 Linda  Pastan

Biography

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 Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Landscapes & Pastorals, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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