Poetry Sunday: Retread

Here's a retread for this Poetry Sunday. I was searching for a poem to represent this time of year and this one was the first that came up. It sounded very familiar, so I asked Blogger, and sure enough, I had featured it just about a year ago. In the belief that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, here it is again.


Poetry Sunday: February by Margaret Atwood

Poetry may not be what Margaret Atwood is most famous for, but she has in fact published eighteen books of poetry. And, judging by this example, she is quite an accomplished poet. This one made me smile in recognition at her description of the interaction with the cat. Also, her description of our increased appetite in winter seems, unfortunately, spot on. It's not an easy time for those of us who have to watch what we eat. We can only hope that spring will arrive in time to save us.


by Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.

Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring. 


  1. Margaret Atwood is a bit of a polymath I think. She is also an avid birder and for a princely sum you can accompany her on a birding trip and perhaps even exchange a few bon mots with her. Probably she has meilleurs mots, as evidenced by this poem.

  2. Make it be spring! I so agree with that thought...especially as snow has started falling outside my window. Another round of snow and cold for us this week. But it's all good. And poetry is meant to be read and reread. So thanks for sharing this poem again. :D

    1. No snow here, but I think we are all just about ready for spring.

  3. I am so ready for spring, despite our snowfall being below normal and lots of above normal days. That arctic blast was a shock, but better than what parts of Texas got. I, too, would call February a month of despair - despair at spring, perhaps, never coming this time.

    1. No despair here. February is the month my older daughter was born so it always occupies a warm spot in my heart.

  4. Spring starts early here, and it often comes in February. We've cleared out our vegetable garden and we were surprised to find a lot of tomato volunteers. The azaleas I've had for thirty-eight years froze back in December but now they are starting to bloom again. Yes, it is "all about sex and territory, which are what will finish us off in the long run," but in the meantime let's enjoy the show.

    1. My azaleas aren't blooming but the are "greening up" so I have hopes for their survival at least.


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