Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poetry 28: Margaret Atwood

Well, I already knew she was one of the most prolific writers in English, but I didn't know until reently that she was also a poet. And an amazing one! I've been reading Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986. This excerpt is

from "Five Poems for Grandmothers"
by Margaret Atwood


It is not the things themselves
that are lost, but their use and handling.

The ladder first; the beach;
the storm windows, the carpets;

The dishes, washed daily
for so many years the pattern
has faded; the floor, the stairs, your own
arms and feet whose work
you thought defined you;

The hairbrush, the oil stove
with its many failures,
the apple tree and the barrels
in the cellar for the apples,
the flesh of apples; the judging
of the flesh, the recipes
in tiny brownish writing
with the names of those who passed them
from hand to hand: Gladys,
Lorna, Winnie, Jean.

If you could only have them back
or remember who they were.

You can read the entire poem(s) here.


jenlinmin said...

Wow! I was already crying reading the excerpt, then went and read the rest of the poem, and... wow! Thanks for taking your precious time to remind me of the power and beauty of poetry. I think I'll head to the library this afternoon...

Anonymous said...

I also liked the hangman poem. Thanks for the link.