April is National Poetry Month in the US, and due to the nature of the Internet these things inevitably get globalised. Stefanie wrote a great post about the pros and cons of special events of this sort, so I won’t rehash her arguments – I’ll just say that I appreciate having the opportunity to remind myself of how much I enjoy poetry.
As in previous years, I’m taking part in Serena’s poetry blog tour, and I thought I’d share a poem that reflects how this very long winter has made me feel. It’s now April, not February; it hasn’t snowed since Saturday and the sun is shining this morning, but it’s still -3 outside and I still “think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries”.
“February” by Margaret Atwood
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. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.
“February” can be found in the collection Morning in the Burned House, which I’ve been meaning to read in its entirety for ages.
Speaking of Margaret Atwood, I was ridiculous excited to find out the other day that she’s doing an event near me this summer. It’s about MaddAddam, the last book in the Year of the Flood trilogy, so I guess I’d better get my act together and read it before then.