The Landlady

This is the lair of the landlady

She is
a raw voice
loose in the rooms beneath me.

the continuous henyard
squabble going on below
thought in this house like
the bicker of blood through the head.

She is everywhere, intrusive as the smells
that bulge in under my doorsill;
she presides over my
meagre eating, generates
the light for eyestrain.

From her I rent my time:
she slams
my days like doors.
Nothing is mine.

and when I dream images
of daring escapes through the snow
I find myself walking
always over a vast face
which is the land-
lady's, and wake up shouting.

She is a bulk, a knot
swollen in a space. Though I have tried
to find some way around
her, my senses
are cluttered by perception
and can't see through her.

She stands there, a raucous fact
blocking my way:
immutable, a slab
of what is real.

solid as bacon.

by Margaret Atwood

Comments (16)

Poor bird to have lost all its eggs! A really sad story!
Not a poem for the birds... very sad, nature is not always kind, especially to the innocent... Glad to be enjoying your work today, thanks! Lee
Very touching really...oh, so sad..but tell Ms. P. she'll have the five freckled eggs next time..
A truly haunting epigram that lives up to its title. The comments are fascinating. Some readers thought the babies had grown and others took them for victims of violence. I thought they were done in but now am unsure. I think I shall savor the ambiguity.
Surely nature at her worst?
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