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Best Famous Margaret Atwood Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Margaret Atwood poems. This is a select list of the best famous Margaret Atwood poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Margaret Atwood poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Margaret Atwood poems.

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by Margaret Atwood |

The Rest

 The rest of us watch from beyond the fence
as the woman moves with her jagged stride
into her pain as if into a slow race.
We see her body in motion but hear no sounds, or we hear sounds but no language; or we know it is not a language we know yet.
We can see her clearly but for her it is running in black smoke.
The cluster of cells in her swelling like porridge boiling, and bursting, like grapes, we think.
Or we think of explosions in mud; but we know nothing.
All around us the trees and the grasses light up with forgiveness, so green and at this time of the year healthy.
We would like to call something out to her.
Some form of cheering.
There is pain but no arrival at anything.


by Margaret Atwood |

The Moment

 The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper.
You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.


by Margaret Atwood |

Provisions

 What should we have taken
with us? We never could decide
on that; or what to wear,
or at what time of
year we should make the journey

So here we are in thin
raincoats and rubber boots

On the disastrous ice, the wind rising

Nothing in our pockets

But a pencil stub, two oranges
Four Toronto streetcar tickets

and an elastic band holding a bundle
of small white filing cards
printed with important facts.


by Margaret Atwood |

The City Planners

 Cruising these residential Sunday
streets in dry August sunlight:
what offends us is
the sanities:
the houses in pedantic rows, the planted
sanitary trees, assert
levelness of surface like a rebuke
to the dent in our car door.
No shouting here, or shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt than the rational whine of a power mower cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.
But though the driveways neatly sidestep hysteria by being even, the roofs all display the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky, certain things: the smell of spilled oil a faint sickness lingering in the garages, a splash of paint on brick surprising as a bruise, a plastic hose poised in a vicious coil; even the too-fixed stare of the wide windows give momentary access to the landscape behind or under the future cracks in the plaster when the houses, capsized, will slide obliquely into the clay seas, gradual as glaciers that right now nobody notices.
That is where the City Planners with the insane faces of political conspirators are scattered over unsurveyed territories, concealed from each other, each in his own private blizzard; guessing directions, they sketch transitory lines rigid as wooden borders on a wall in the white vanishing air tracing the panic of suburb order in a bland madness of snows


by Margaret Atwood |

Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

 Starspangled cowboy 
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face 
a porcelain grin, 
tugging a papier-mache cactus 
on wheels behind you with a string, 


you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.
Your righteous eyes, your laconic trigger-fingers people the streets with villains: as you move, the air in front of you blossoms with targets and you leave behind you a heroic trail of desolation: beer bottles slaughtered by the side of the road, bird- skulls bleaching in the sunset.
I ought to be watching from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront when the shooting starts, hands clasped in admiration, but I am elsewhere.
Then what about me what about the I confronting you on that border you are always trying to cross? I am the horizon you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso I am also what surrounds you: my brain scattered with your tincans, bones, empty shells, the litter of your invasions.
I am the space you desecrate as you pass through.


by Margaret Atwood |

Sekhmet the Lion-headed Goddess of War

 He was the sort of man
who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Many flies are now alive while he is not.
He was not my patron.
He preferred full granaries, I battle.
My roar meant slaughter.
Yet here we are together in the same museum.
That's not what I see, though, the fitful crowds of staring children learning the lesson of multi- cultural obliteration, sic transit and so on.
I see the temple where I was born or built, where I held power.
I see the desert beyond, where the hot conical tombs, that look from a distance, frankly, like dunces' hats, hide my jokes: the dried-out flesh and bones, the wooden boats in which the dead sail endlessly in no direction.
What did you expect from gods with animal heads? Though come to think of it the ones made later, who were fully human were not such good news either.
Favour me and give me riches, destroy my enemies.
That seems to be the gist.
Oh yes: And save me from death.
In return we're given blood and bread, flowers and prayer, and lip service.
Maybe there's something in all of this I missed.
But if it's selfless love you're looking for, you've got the wrong goddess.
I just sit where I'm put, composed of stone and wishful thinking: that the deity who kills for pleasure will also heal, that in the midst of your nightmare, the final one, a kind lion will come with bandages in her mouth and the soft body of a woman, and lick you clean of fever, and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck and caress you into darkness and paradise.


by Margaret Atwood |

The Landlady

 This is the lair of the landlady

She is
a raw voice
loose in the rooms beneath me.
the continuous henyard squabble going on below thought in this house like the bicker of blood through the head.
She is everywhere, intrusive as the smells that bulge in under my doorsill; she presides over my meagre eating, generates the light for eyestrain.
From her I rent my time: she slams my days like doors.
Nothing is mine.
and when I dream images of daring escapes through the snow I find myself walking always over a vast face which is the land- lady's, and wake up shouting.
She is a bulk, a knot swollen in a space.
Though I have tried to find some way around her, my senses are cluttered by perception and can't see through her.
She stands there, a raucous fact blocking my way: immutable, a slab of what is real.
solid as bacon.


by Margaret Atwood |

Morning in the Burned House

 In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast, yet here I am.
The spoon which was melted scrapes against the bowl which was melted also.
No one else is around.
Where have they gone to, brother and sister, mother and father? Off along the shore, perhaps.
Their clothes are still on the hangers, their dishes piled beside the sink, which is beside the woodstove with its grate and sooty kettle, every detail clear, tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless, the lake is blue, the forest watchful.
In the east a bank of cloud rises up silently like dark bread.
I can see the swirls in the oilcloth, I can see the flaws in the glass, those flares where the sun hits them.
I can't see my own arms and legs or know if this is a trap or blessing, finding myself back here, where everything in this house has long been over, kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl, including my own body, including the body I had then, including the body I have now as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy, bare child's feet on the scorched floorboards (I can almost see) in my burning clothes, the thin green shorts and grubby yellow T-shirt holding my cindery, non-existent, radiant flesh.
Incandescent.


by Margaret Atwood |

Is/Not

 Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

sex is not dentistry
the slick filling of aches and cavities

you are not my doctor
you are not my cure,

nobody has that
power, you are merely a fellow/traveller

Give up this medical concern,
buttoned, attentive,

permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your suprise

which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease

but agaist you,
which does not need to be understood

or washed or cauterized,
which needs instead

to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.


by Margaret Atwood |

Flying Inside Your Own Body

 Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you’ll lift like a balloon and your heart is light too & huge, beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun’s white winds blow through you, there’s nothing above you, you see the earth now as an oval jewel, radiant & seablue with love.
It’s only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist, a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in; the sun’s a hot copper weight pressing straight down on the think pink rind of your skull.
It’s always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.