Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Door by Margaret Atwood

I love Margaret Atwood. Two of her fiction novels are on my Favorite Books of All Time list. In fact, I have met her and stammered like an idiot while she signed my books. What a joy to discover that her poetry hits me the same way.

From "Owl and Pussycat, Some Years Later", a witty retelling of the well-known nursery rhyme, to the darker poem "The Hurt Child", Margaret Atwood revisits familiar themes and explores new territory in The Door. In this collection, she highlights the dark side of personal, environmental and political landscapes in taut, spare verse proving once again her virtuosity with words.

Variation on the Word Sleep
by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.



Nuke said...

I had never heard of Margaret Atwood, thanks for sharing. That was a pretty cool piece!

A Librarian said...

Try Oryx and Crake for one of her more recent near future, science gone mad novels. She has some interesting ideas.