MORNING IN THE BURNED HOUSE
In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,
yet here I am.
The spoon which was melted scrapes against
the bowl which was melted also.
No one else is around.
Where have they gone to, brother and sister,
mother and father? Off along the shore,
perhaps. Their clothes are still on the hangers,
their dishes piled beside the sink,
which is beside the woodstove
with its grate and sooty kettle,
every detail clear,
tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless,
the lake is blue, the forest watchful.
In the east a bank of cloud
rises up silently like dark bread.
I can see the swirls in the oilcloth,
I can see the flaws in the glass,
those flares where the sun hits them.
I can’t see my own arms and legs
or know if this is a trap or blessing,
finding myself back here, where everything
in this house has long been over,
kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl,
including my own body,
including the body I had then,
including the body I have now
as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy,
bare child’s feet on the scorched floorboards
(I can almost see)
in my burning clothes, the thin green shorts
and grubby yellow T-shirt
holding my cindery, non-existent,
radiant flesh. Incandescent.
Margaret Atwood (born 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist.
Since 1961, she has published 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 books of non-fiction, nine collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and two graphic novels, as well as a number of small press editions of both poetry and fiction.
Atwood has won numerous awards and honors for her writing, including the Booker Prize (twice), Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.
A number of her works have been adapted for film and television, increasing her exposure.
Atwood‘s works encompass a variety of themes including gender and identity, religion and myth, the power of language, climate change, and „power politics“.
Many of her poems are inspired by myths and fairy tales which interested her from a very early age.
Atwood is a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Writers’ Trust of Canada. She is also a Senior Fellow of Massey College, Toronto.
Atwood is also the inventor and developer of the LongPen and associated technologies that facilitate remote robotic writing of documents.