margaret atwood | elegy for the giant tortoises

3 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 20 | November 2, 2005


Let others pray for the passenger pigeon
the dodo, the whooping crane, the eskimo:
everyone must specialize

I will confine myself to a meditation
upon the giant tortoises
withering finally on a remote island.

I concentrate in subway stations,
in parks, I can’t quite see them,
they move to the peripheries of my eyes

but on the last day they will be there;
already the event
like a wave traveling shapes vision:

on the road where I stand they will materialize,
plodding past me in a straggling line
awkward without water

small heads pondering
from side to side, their useless armour
sadder than tanks and history,

their closed gaze ocean and sunlight paralyzed,
lumbering up the steps, under the archways
toward the square glass altars

where the brittle gods are kept,
the relics of what we have destroyed.
our holy and obsolete symbols.

from SELECTED POEMS 1965-1975)




One response

23 04 2014
sadies albuquerque

I rarely write remarks, however I browsed a few of the responses on this page margaret atwood | elegy for the giant
tortoises | poetry dispatch & other notes
from the underground. I actually do have a few questions for you if you tend not
to mind. Could it be only me or does it look like some of the remarks come across as if they are coming from
brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing on other online sites, I would like to keep
up with anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of
your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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