A Sad Child

You're sad because you're sad.
It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you're trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.

by Margaret Atwood

Comments (40)

such a good poem huihuwjrioqwjr
As the Anglican vicar said at the commemoration service when my mother's ashes were interred: 'She was very special... we are all very special'. Wise words. As we Buddhists put it, turning it upside down: 'We are nothing special... but it is no small thing to be born human'.
What the lovely poem
Heartfelt words that I have read several times. In my youth and most our age or older, we had to just get on with life. No matter what! I really feel your words. Perfect poem I shall save.
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