“This Fjord Looks Like a Lake”, Margaret Atwood

I treated myself to Margaret Atwood’s new book of poetry recently, Dearly which arrived this morning. Yay. I have to admit that I had forgotten I had ordered this as due to lockdown 3 its taken forever to arrive. What a luxury to spend a few unexpected minutes dipping into this whilst the children were magically playing a teddy game 🙂 I didn’t expect to get this time so decided to use it wisely and post a weekly poem from this book. The poems I managed to dip into are beautiful, rich, moving and wonderfully random. So much about the passing of time and brilliant use of language. The poem I chose I just liked, mainly because after a week of gloomy, winter weather, the evocative colours here struck me. I am looking forward to more stolen moments reading poems from this. I would definitely recommend this, there is a good review here. ***Note I had about 5 minutes of deliciously uninterrupted time before being interrupted by 2 bored children. Sigh.

This Fiord Looks Like a Lake

We pick our way over the slippery rocks
over the stream’s foam feathers,
gingerly, in the mist, in the light rain.
Such colours here: crowberries,
round black eyes among the leaves,
red, plum, pink, and orange,
tough in a week they’ll vanish,
a fact not lost on us.
What’s here? A mound of fine white hair?
Has someone been buried?
Yes, many, over the years,
though this is only lichen.

Here are the ravens, as if on cue.
Will you be next? they ask us.
They understand waned flesh:
so eager for a beakful.
Wait a little, we say to them.
Everything in good time.
Meanwhile the ponds are beautiful,
the yellow stones, green moss, the scurvy grass,
the long-abandoned graves, the small old willows.

From Dearly by Margaret Atwood (p.100), Chatto & Windus, 2020.

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