Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Vertical

Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.
And since we will be
horizontal ourselves
for so long,
let us now honor 
the gods
of the vertical:
stalks of wheat
which to the ant
must seem as high
as these trees do to us,
silos and
telephone poles,
stalagmites
and skyscrapers.
but most of all
these winter oaks,
these soft-fleshed poplars,
this birch
whose bark is like
roughened skin
against which I lean 
my chilled head,
not ready 
to lie down.

Credit


From Traveling Light, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Copyright © 2010 by Linda Pastan. Used with permission of the publisher.

Author


Linda Pastan

The author of many collections of poetry, Linda Pastan's book Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998 was nominated for the National Book Award

Date Published: 2010-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/vertical