This year we are making nothing but elegies. Do what you are good at, our parents always told us, make what you know. This is what we are making, these songs for the dying. You have to celebrate something. —Margaret Atwood, from “Four Small Elegies,” Two-Headed Poems. (Simon & Schuster March 9, 1981) Advertisements
But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind. — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 25, 2017) Originally published 1985.
There is always more than you know. There are always boxes put away in the cellar, worn shoes and cherished pictures, notes you find later, sheet music you can’t play. — Margaret Atwood, from “Dancing,” Morning in the Burned House. (Mariner Books; Reprint edition September 16, 1996)
Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence. – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. (Virago Press Ltd; New Ed edition May 19, 2001)
But some people can’t tell where it hurts. They can’t calm down. They can’t ever stop howling. —Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. (Virago Press Ltd; New Ed edition May 19, 2001)
Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers. — Margaret Atwood, Good Bones. (Virago Press Ltd September 9, 1993)
The desire to be loved is the last illusion Give it up and you will be free. — Margaret Atwood, from “A Sunday Drive,” Selected Poems II: Poems Selected & New 1976-1986. (Houghton Mifflin November 5, 1987)