From My Commonplace Book - 55


by Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. Its his
way of telling whether or not Im dead.
If Im not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
hell think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. Its all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, wed do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But its love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! Youre the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Margaret Atwood (Canadian, born 1939) is a prolific writer with many novels and collections of poetry, short stories, and essays to her credit, some of which have earned her top awards. She is also known for her work as an environmentalist. 'February" is from Morning in the Burned House.


Delightful poem - thanks Merry. Think we may well have all been through it ! and it is indeed spring UK despite the last blizzard.
Hi, Enid. Is your area dug out from the blizzard yet? I hope you are getting along ok.

We're to get an inch of snow by tomorrow afternoon. Nothing to brag about, I know, but watching the changes in weather are one of my few pleasures, and, besides, this has been the strangest winter, so mild. So boring.

I'm glad you liked Margaret Atwood's poem.

Take care. Keep warm.

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