Poets Walk: "should forgive"

Poets Walk: "should forgive"

Location on Poets Walk Map:57

They are Hostile Nations by Margaret Atwood


In view of the fading animals

the proliferation of sewers and fears

the sea clogging, the air

nearing extinction

we should be kind, we should

take warning, we should forgive each other

Instead we are opposite, we

touch as though attacking,

the gifts we bring

even in good faith maybe

warp in our hands to

implements, to manoeuvresii

Put down the target of me

you guard inside your binoculars,

in turn I will surrender

this aerial photograph

(your vulnerable

sections marked in red)

I have found so useful

See, we are alone in

the dormant field, the snow

that cannot be eaten or capturediii

Here there are no armies

here there is no moneyIt is cold and getting colder,

We need each others’

breathing, warmth, surviving

is the only war

we can afford, stay

walking with me, there is almost

time / if we can only

make it as far asthe (possibly) last summer

Margaret Atwood, "They are hostile nations" from Selected Poems 1965-1975. Copyright © 1974, 1976 by Margaret Atwood. Used by permission of the Phoebe Larmore Agency and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.