Friday, 19 February 2010

...longing for Spring

This is one of my favourite poems, such use of metaphor,imagery and emotion. This week I have been to my third funeral of the year and sad as these occasions are they can often contain such unexpected happiness.

Perhaps, as someone said over drinks later yesterday, this is how we keep in contact with those from our present and our past - alive and dead.

I'm sure that Connie, ever the humanist and cat lover, would have smiled and agreed.

Take care nice people.

By Margaret Atwood.

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. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll 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. It’s 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, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s 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! You’re 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.


  1. Ah, this is in her book "Morning in the Burned House"! Atwood's every day kind of humanness is so easy to relate to.

    I lust for french fries with a huge puddle of ketchup.

  2. I found myself trimming fat off a cooked pork loin the other afternoon and sticking it in my mouth and chewing it and savoring how wonderful it tasted before I realized what I was doing. Great poem. Had no idea this author whose books I have so enjoyed (and been supremely trouble by as well) wrote wonderful poetry a well.

  3. Michael, I was delighted to see you had stopped by TKR. This poem really nails the winter experience which has been imposing itself on Alabama since December. Though we have three dogs, it is the gray tabby suasage cat Deusey who wakes us much in the same way as Atwood's tomcat each morning. Atwood is just so REAL isn't she?
    As for having trouble getting to my blog.. it wasn't your problem at all. For a short period of time, the snow widget had brought in some rather rude links that would divert my readers. I figured it out and used a my big snow shovel: THE DELETE KEY!

  4. Hi Michael,

    "Pewter mornings" is a good descriptor for winter days. The poem evokes many aspects of life.

  5. What a perfect poem for February. All the more perfect because I have a black cat that "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. It’s his
    way of telling whether or not I’m dead.

    And in February death seems so totally perfect to be sought after and wished for.

    Thank you for sharing this, Sir Mutt.