Margaret Atwood

Tonight I am going to see Margaret Atwood speak at the New York Times.  I reluctantly must admit I’ve never read any of her books, but I am a fan of her poetry, particularly this one, which is about many people I know.

A Sad Child

You’re sad because you’re sad.

It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.

Go see a shrink or take a pill,

or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll

you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad

but some get over it.

Count your blessings. Better than that,

buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.

Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?

Your sadness, your shadow,

whatever it was that was done to you

the day of the lawn party

when you came inside flushed with the sun,

your mouth sulky with sugar,

in your new dress with the ribbon

and the ice-cream smear,

and said to yourself in the bathroom,

I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes

right down to it

and the light fails and the fog rolls in

and you’re trapped in your overturned body

under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you

and igniting the tarmac beside you head

or else the floor, or else the pillow,

none of us is;

or else we all are.

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