In the Secular Night
In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It's two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.
Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it's baby lima beans.
It's necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You'd be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.
There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn't now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone's been run over.
The century grinds on.
Margaret Atwood's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (In the Secular Night by Margaret Atwood )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803 - 1882)
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- My limbs, gajanan mishra
- PARUI POLICE BRUTALITY, Bireswar Halder
- Sacred Kailas, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- VIRTUAL POET FRIENDS, Philo Yan
- The Imponderable, Sandra Feldman
- Arousal Of Energy, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Being Welcomed, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Appreciating Cultures, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- What A Blessing, Shalom Freedman
- Within India's Veins, RoseAnn V. Shawiak