Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Habitation - Poem by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:


the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire


Comments about Habitation by Margaret Atwood

  • Gold Star - 15,351 Points Kim Barney (2/2/2015 4:49:00 PM)

    And, as usual, I agree with you, John Richter, but to me, the learning to make fire reference signifies that their relationship is just at the beginning stages. (Report) Reply

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  • Silver Star - 3,687 Points John Richter (2/2/2015 8:48:00 AM)

    I am a complete believer! How wonderful and imaginative this poem is. Love is not instant, or expressed by some fanciful feelings that Mother Nature fills us with in her goal to have us procreate. Love is something that comes long after that - something that must be forged by pain and sacrifice - compromise and acceptance. Learning to make fire is to learn to knock the coldness from it. I am in complete agreement with Margaret. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: marriage, house, fire



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 16, 2014


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