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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 Shadow Voice

 My shadow said to me: 
what is the matter


Isn't the moon warm
enough for you
why do you need
the blanket of another body


Whose kiss is moss


Around the picnic tables
The bright pink hands held sandwiches
crumbled by distance.
Flies crawl over the sweet instant You know what is in these blankets The trees outside are bending with children shooting guns.
Leave them alone.
They are playing games of their own.
I give water, I give clean crusts Aren't there enough words flowing in your veins to keep you going.


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.


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 | |

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 | |

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 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 | |

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 | |

This Is A Photograph Of Me

 It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be a smeared print: blurred lines and grey flecks blended with the paper; then, as you scan it, you see in the left-hand corner a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree (balsam or spruce) emerging and, to the right, halfway up what ought to be a gentle slope, a small frame house.
In the background there is a lake, and beyond that, some low hills.
(The photograph was taken the day after I drowned.
I am in the lake, in the center of the picture, just under the surface.
It is difficult to say where precisely, or to say how large or small I am: the effect of water on light is a distortion but if you look long enough, eventually you will be able to see me.
)


by Margaret Atwood | |

Night Poem

 There is nothing to be afraid of,
it is only the wind
changing to the east, it is only
your father the thunder
your mother the rain

In this country of water
with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,
its drowned stumps and long birds
that swim, where the moss grows
on all sides of the trees
and your shadow is not your shadow
but your reflection,

your true parents disappear
when the curtain covers your door.
We are the others, the ones from under the lake who stand silently beside your bed with our heads of darkness.
We have come to cover you with red wool, with our tears and distant whispers.
You rock in the rain's arms, the chilly ark of your sleep, while we wait, your night father and mother, with our cold hands and dead flashlight, knowing we are only the wavering shadows thrown by one candle, in this echo you will hear twenty years later.


by Margaret Atwood | |

You Fit Into Me

 You fit into me
like a hook into an eye
A fish hook
An open eye


by Margaret Atwood | |

You Take My Hand

 You take my hand and
I'm suddenly in a bad movie,
it goes on and on and 
why am I fascinated

We waltz in slow motion
through an air stale with aphrodisms
we meet behind the endless ptted palms
you climb through the wrong windows

Other people are leaving
but I always stay till the end
I paid my money, I
want to see what happens.
In chance bathtubs I have to peel you off me in the form of smoke and melted celluloid Have to face it I'm finally an addict, the smell of popcorn and worn plush lingers for weeks


by Margaret Atwood | |

A Visit

 Gone are the days
when you could walk on water.
When you could walk.
The days are gone.
Only one day remains, the one you're in.
The memory is no friend.
It can only tell you what you no longer have: a left hand you can use, two feet that walk.
All the brain's gadgets.
Hello, hello.
The one hand that still works grips, won't let go.
That is not a train.
There is no cricket.
Let's not panic.
Let's talk about axes, which kinds are good, the many names of wood.
This is how to build a house, a boat, a tent.
No use; the toolbox refuses to reveal its verbs; the rasp, the plane, the awl, revert to sullen metal.
Do you recognize anything? I said.
Anything familiar? Yes, you said.
The bed.
Better to watch the stream that flows across the floor and is made of sunlight, the forest made of shadows; better to watch the fireplace which is now a beach.


by Margaret Atwood | |

Variation On The Word Sleep

 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 as 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.


by Margaret Atwood | |

Habitation

 Marriage is not 
a house or even a tent 

it is before that, and colder: 

The edge of the forest, the edge 
of the desert 
 the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat 
outside, eating popcorn 

where painfully and with wonder 
at having survived even 
this far 

we are learning to make fire


by Margaret Atwood | |

A Sad Child

 You're sad because you're sad.
It's psychic.
It's the age.
It's chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill, or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll you need to sleep.
Well, all children are sad but some get over it.
Count your blessings.
Better than that, buy a hat.
Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.
Forget what? Your sadness, your shadow, whatever it was that was done to you the day of the lawn party when you came inside flushed with the sun, your mouth sulky with sugar, in your new dress with the ribbon and the ice-cream smear, and said to yourself in the bathroom, I am not the favorite child.
My darling, when it comes right down to it and the light fails and the fog rolls in and you're trapped in your overturned body under a blanket or burning car, and the red flame is seeping out of you and igniting the tarmac beside you head or else the floor, or else the pillow, none of us is; or else we all are.


by Margaret Atwood | |

More and More

 More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant's tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.
I would not consume you or ever finish, you would still be there surrounding me, complete as the air.
Unfortunately I don't have leaves.
Instead I have eyes and teeth and other non-green things which rule out osmosis.
So be careful, I mean it, I give you fair warning: This kind of hunger draws everything into its own space; nor can we talk it all over, have a calm rational discussion.
There is no reason for this, only a starved dog's logic about bones.