Parthenia Hicks: A favorite poem

What We Want
Linda Pastan

I love this poem because it captures the mystery and the ache of the yearning for that which has no name and cannot be found in the outer world, not even in the face of a loved one. Though we search the outer world, the thing we long for responds to us in our innermost world, our dreams, as we “fall past” it, but awaken with aching arms.  It is hidden yet right before our eyes “as the stars are there even in full sun.” I especially love that the poet does not try to “teach” us or  name what it is that we seek, but instead leaves the mystery there before us.

Parthenia M. Hicks
Los Gatos Poet Laureate



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 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.

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