Night Poem

There is nothing to be afraid of,
it is only the wind
changing to the east, it is only
your father the thunder
your mother the rain

In this country of water
with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,
its drowned stumps and long birds
that swim, where the moss grows
on all sides of the trees
and your shadow is not your shadow
but your reflection,

your true parents disappear
when the curtain covers your door.
We are the others,
the ones from under the lake
who stand silently beside your bed
with our heads of darkness.
We have come to cover you
with red wool,
with our tears and distant whipers.

You rock in the rain's arms
the chilly ark of your sleep,
while we wait, your night
father and mother
with our cold hands and dead flashlight,
knowing we are only
the wavering shadows thrown
by one candle, in this echo
you will hear twenty years later.

by Margaret Atwood

Comments (6)

Song Of Myself, a great poem for democracy, loved
The most fascinating persona of 19th century American literature introduces itself. The voice is simply impossible to ignore. Is the poem to follow 'too long'? We hope not.
First section, and introduction, to possibly the best modern American poem. Song of Myself, in full, captures the essence of Whitman's poetic vision. When I first read this poem I was captured by it from the very first line. Pure poetry. (Whitman's first version of Son of Myself published did not have the words and sing myself. I prefer the original version.)
Hardly one of his best poems. Puzzles me how they are selected. Sometimes I think PH just has their computers pick one at random.
Exalted sense of being and belonging. A profound poem.
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