The Door

The Door


Its lucid yet urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to meditative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality.

Our Review

In general, I am not a fan of poetry, but I will make an exception for poetry by Margaret Atwood. The Door is my favourite of her poetry collections.

The first poem in the collection was ‘Gasoline’ and I was struck by how she can even make gasoline sound strange and exotic.

It’s beauty an illusion:

I could spell flammable.


But still, I loved the smell;

So alien, a whiff

Of startstuff.


There were poems about loss and grief in this collection, some about dead cats and one poignant one called ‘My Mother Dwindles.’

I hold her hand, I whisper,

Hello, hello.

If I said Goodbye instead.

If I said Let Go.

What would she do?


But I can’t say it

I promised to see this through.

Whatever that may mean.

What can I possibly tell her?

I’m here.

I’m here.


Another poem I enjoyed reading from this collection was Owl and Pussycat, Some Years Later.

“No longer semi-immortal, but moulting owl

And arthritic-pussycat, we row

Out past the last protecting

Sandbar, towards the salty

Open sea, the dog’s head gate,

And after that, oblivion.

But sing on, sing

On, someone may be listening

Besides me. The fish for instance.

Anyway my dearest one,

We still have the moon.


I enjoyed reading Boat Song about the musicians who chose to play one as the Titanic went down.

A particular enjoyable poem for me was Sting Tail. Especially following lines:

Watch me make you happy!

…Here’s a gnawed bone,

It’s my own;

I took it out of my own;

I took it out of my arm.

Here’s my heart, in a little pile of vomit.


This collection was full of typical Atwood wit on the subjects of ageing, loss and grief in all it’s forms.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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