Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Door: Poems by Margaret Atwood


I don’t read poetry very often and I’m not sure why. I remember reading some truly great poetry in college, but I’m hard-pressed to tell you what that was now. The ones I do remember enjoying were Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Chaucer, Shakespeare’s sonnets, Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, and the like. I’ve never really found any poets of a more contemporary variety that I read consistently. Occasionally I will find a little something here and there that I really enjoy and that is the case with Margaret Atwood’s The Door: Poems.


I loved (and was not a little terrified by) Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale so I decided to give her new book of poems a try. The bonus? The hardback copy that my library purchased comes with a cd of the author reading some of her work from the volume. There are fifty poems in the book and there were 8 that I made copies of to make a few notes on. Here are some of my favorite lines from those poems:

Gasoline – “I knew that it was poison, its beauty an illusion: I could spell flammable.”

My Mother Dwindles – “Everyone says This can’t go on, but it does. It’s like watching somebody drown.”

Heart – “Some people sell their blood. You sell your heart. It was ether that or the soul. The hard part is getting the damn thing out.”

Your Children Cut Their Hands – “but now they’ve cut themselves on love, and cry in secret, and your own hands go numb”

Secret – “and now it’s in you, secrecy. Ancient and vicious, luscious as dark velvet. It blooms in you, a poppy made of ink.”

The Hurt Child – “The hurt child will grow a skin over the wound you have given it – or not given, because the wound is not a gift, a gift is accepted freely, and the child had no choice.”

Questioning the Dead – “The sound you hear is the question you should have asked. Also the answer.”

Another Visit to the Oracle, 6(III) – “I tell dark stories before and after they come true.”

So? I like the dark stuff, it lances a wound, ya know? It isn’t like I didn’t warn you, I did say I liked Baudelaire... What kind of poetry do YOU like?

1 comment:

J. Kaye said...

I don't get a chance to read poetry either. I think it's because of my whole towering TBR pile. I use to read it all the time, but not any more.