poem index

About this Poem 

"For years I have been obsessed with Eden, and with Eve in particular. So perhaps it’s not surprising that while visiting a very different, very beautiful, garden in Japan, Eden and Eve came immediately to mind."
—Linda Pastan

In the Happo-En Garden, Tokyo

Linda Pastan, 1932

The way a birthmark  
on a woman’s face defines 
rather than mars
her beauty, 

so the skyscrapers—
those flowers of technology— 
reveal the perfection 
of the garden they surround.        

Perhaps Eden is buried 
here in Japan,
where an incandescent 
koi slithers snakelike 

to the edge of the  pond; 
where a black-haired
Eve-san in the petalled
folds of a kimono 

once showed her silken body
to the sun, then picked a persimmon
and with a small bow
bit into it.

Copyright © 2014 by Linda Pastan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 25, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Linda Pastan

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

by this poet

poem
I married you
for all the wrong reasons,
charmed by your 
dangerous family history,
by the innocent muscles, bulging
like hidden weapons 
under your shirt,
by your naive ties, the colors
of painted scraps of sunset.

I was charmed too
by your assumptions
about me: my serenity—
that mirror waiting to be cracked,
poem

for F.

For Jews, the Cossacks are always coming.
Therefore I think the sun spot on my arm
is melanoma. Therefore I celebrate
New Year's Eve by counting
my annual dead.

My mother, when she was dying,
spoke to her visitors of books
and travel, displaying serenity
as a form of manners, though
poem
I'm only leaving you
for a handful of days,
but it feels as though
I'll be gone forever—
the way the door closes

behind me with such solidity,
the way my suitcase
carries everything
I'd need for an eternity
of traveling light.

I've left my hotel number
on your desk, instructions
about the dog
and heating