Pastan, Linda

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Ratzan, Richard M.
  • Date of entry: May-21-1996
  • Last revised: Nov-19-2009


The poet describes the suffering associated with a migraine headache.


“Migraine” is a 24 line poem (8 stanzas of 3 lines each). It is a descriptive portrait of what a migraineur suffers (“Ambushed by / pins and needles of light . . . ”) and would give (“every blessing--these shooting / stars . . . the future . . . ”) for an attack to end. Particularly memorable are the lines “the sanctuary is taken / from within” to describe the sacrilege of the internal assault a migraine represents and the description of longed for respite as “the cotton wool / of the perfected dark.”

Primary Source

An Early Afterlife


W. W. Norton

Place Published

New York