Poetry Sunday: February by Margaret Atwood (Again!)

Yes, yes, I know I have featured this poem here before! Actually more than once if truth be told. But one can never have too much of Margaret Atwood, can one? And this poem about February is just so...perfect!


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. This makes me think of all the cat owners who post on FB about how their cats mistreat them, but then they let still another cat into their lives. We humans are a strange species. But if cats could bring an early spring, I would gladly let one into my house. (P.S. I like cats, just not enough to own one.)

  2. This poem is so good it deserves to be posted more than once!

  3. A fun poem to read. Reminds me of cold mornings.

    1. Yes, although we don't get many really cold mornings here, I certainly remember them from my childhood.

  4. Oh, I like this poem so very much! Wonderful!


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