Tuesday Poem: 'February' - Margaret Atwood

Croatian artist Endre Penovac

Winter. 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. . . .  Read the rest

"February" by Margaret Atwood,
from Morning in the Burned House. © Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

I love this poem - curling up in bed with the cat, which behaves as cats do.  But then the poem morphs into much more serious territory - our expanding population, 'famine
crouches in the bedsheets',  pollution, climate change and war. 'It’s all about sex and territory,/ which are what will finish us off/ in the long run.'   The cat becomes 'the life principle' - a symbol of hope and optimism, urged, in the last line, to ' Make it be spring.'  Yes, please! (Read the whole poem)

Endre Penovac

Morning in the Burned House
published by Houghton Mifflin,
(sadly, not on Kindle)

For more watercolours and information about Endre Penovac click here. 

The Tuesday Poets are an international group of poets from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Africa and Europe (and probably a few other places as well!).  We try to post a poem every Tuesday and take it in turns to host the main website.  To take a look at what the rest of them are doing, please click over to the Tuesday Poem Hub. This week it's Pen Pal by Sugar Magnolia Wilson. 


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