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A stunning lyrical achievement and Atwood's first collection of new poems in over a decade.
The Door is Margaret Atwood's first book of poetry since the award-winning Morning in the Burned House (1995). Its fifty lucid yet urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to meditative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political, viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality. The collection begins with poems that consider the past and ends with harbingers of things to come.
Brave and compassionate, The Door interrogates the certainties that we build our lives on.
torn bread or white stones under a moon that says nothing to her. I mean it says: Nothing. There is a man nearby who claims he is a lover but smells of plunder. How many times will he have to tell her to kill herself before she does? It’s no use to say to this girl: You are well cared for. Here is a safe room, here is food and everything you need. She cannot see what you see. The darkness washes towards her like an avalanche. Like falling. She would like to step forward into it as
stew with gravy. You wanted what was coming to you. (Death is, though. Ridiculous. And coming to you. For us too. Justice is what we’ll turn into. Then there’s mercy.) MOURNING FOR CATS We get too sentimental over dead animals. We turn maudlin. But only those with fur, only those who look like us, at least a little. Those with big eyes, eyes that face front. Those with smallish noses or modest beaks. No one laments a spider. Nor a crab. Hookworms rate no wailing. Fish
rush-fringed peat-brown river, leaving a trail of jittering blackflies, his hands already broad and deft at the ends of his fraying sleeves. Along this path he noticed everything: mushroom and scat, wildbloom, snail and iris, clubmoss, fern and cone. It must have been an endless breathing in: between the wish to know and the need to praise there was no seam. One day he saw a drenched log floating heavily downstream, and on it a butterfly, blue as eyes. This was the moment (I later
rubbed like silver spoons, until it shone at least as brightly as neon, really so much better than the ability to win the sausage-eating contest, or juggle six plates at once? What’s the use anyway of calling the dead back, moving stones, or making animals cry? I think of you, loping along at night to the convenience store, to buy your pint of milk, your six medium eggs, your head stuffed full of consonants like lovely pebbles you picked up on some lustrous beach you can’t remember
danger? I knew that it was poison, its beauty an illusion: I could spell flammable. But still, I loved the smell: so alien, a whiff of starstuff. I would have liked to drink it, inhale its iridescence. As if I could. That’s how gods lived: as if. EUROPE ON $5 A DAY Sunrise. The thin pocked sheets are being washed. The city’s old, but new to me, and therefore strange, and therefore fresh. Everything’s clear, but flat – even the oculist’s dingy eyes, even the butcher’s, with its