Wednesday, 14 November 2007

margaret atwood

Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer

i

He stood, a point
on a sheet of green paper
proclaiming himself the centre

with no walls, no borders
anywhere; the sky no height
above him, totally un-
enclosed
and shouted:

Let me out!

ii

He dug the soil in rows,
imposed himself with shovels
He asserted
in to the furrows, I
am not random

The ground
replied with aphorisms:

a tree-sprout, a nameless
weed, words
he couldn't understand.

iii

The house pitched
the plot staked
in the middle of nowhere

At night the mind
inside, in the middle
of nowhere

The idea of an animal
patters across the roof

In the darkness the fields
defend themselves with fences
in vain:
everything
is getting in

iv

By daylight he resisted.
He said, disgusted
with the swamp's clamourings and the outbursts
of rocks.
This is not order
but the absence
of order.

He was wrong, the unanswering
forest implied:

It was
an ordered absence

v

For many years
he fished for a great vision,
dangling the hooks of sown
roots under the surface
of the shallow earth.

It was like
enticing whales with a bent
pin. Besides he thought

in that country
only the worms were biting

vi

If he had known unstructured
space is a deluge
and stocked his log house-
boat with all the animals

even the wolves

he might have floated.

But obstinate he
stated, The land is solid
and stamped

watching his foot sink
down through stone
up to the knee.

vii

Things
refused to name themselves; refused
to let him name them.

The wolves hunted
outside.

On his beaches, his clearings,
by the surf of under-
growth breaking
at his feet, he foresaw
disintegration
and in the end

through eyes
made ragged by his
effort, the tension
between subject and object,

the green
vision, the unnamed
whale invaded

7 comments:

Mc Vickers said...

Nice poetry and nice blog. Mine is http://elbaluartedeoccidente.blogspot.com/
Cheers
Luis

swiss said...

chers luis. will have a detailed look in due course - you're talking very rusty spanish!

emerset said...

This free verse poem was elegant and deep, but what imagery does it make for you? Let's hear an opinion here to spice this up.

swiss said...

i continue mystified as to why this post is the one peole are coming to. it seems cyclical - is it an exam thing maybe? do tell...

i thought i might help on that front but i figure if you're here you can use google. plus, i'm not canadian so i can;t really say much on the whole canadian identity thing.

so what do i think? nothing that i'd put in an essay i guess tho maybe you'd get some form of perspective form at least one of the other atwood posts on here.

for me tho this poem is all about the whale, he said, not so very cryptically....

swiss said...

so, what do i think, i'm being asked? i could tell you one thing today and a whole different other tomorrow. for a first up, emotional response have a look here

http://theswisslounge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/progressive-insanities.html

fear not, i've avoided, for the most part, discussions around colonialism, gender/feminism and marxism not because i necessarily wanted to but more because i could've gone on and on and on. and would've - if ever i wanted to quote from marx's 18th brumaire it was here!

Anonymous said...

i want a poem namely,Ruins of a Great House by Derek Walcott...if u can manage plz do so s early s u plz!!!!

swiss said...

see the Derek Walcott post today. text of the poem plus Walcott reading it is via the link to the poetry archive. a couple of other things as well - hope it helps!