Linda Pastan

(1932 - / New York / United States)

What We Want


What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names--
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • warner treuter (8/19/2010 4:33:00 AM)

    Maybe I've something to look forward to; I can't remember ever experiencing what the poem describes. Just when I got to thinking I'd seen it all. Good description. (Report) Reply

  • Deanna Holcomb (1/8/2010 12:24:00 PM)

    Linda - I cannot tell you what a fan I am of your work. I loved all your poems posted here but I absolutely LOVE this poem. It's poets like you that engages people who would otherwise find no interest in the art. Thank god for you! (Report) Reply

  • Anne Champion (8/4/2006 10:38:00 PM)

    I feel like your poems reach to the core of the human experience, our interactions with one another, our place in the world and nature, and our natural desires. I stumbled upon a Pastan book at a used book store and now I can't get enough. (Report) Reply

  • A. B. (2/3/2006 7:21:00 AM)

    Linda, you have your way with words, and i love your writing style. I really enjoyed this one.

    Peace. (Report) Reply

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