Monday, February 15, 2010

Margaret Atwood The Moment

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

The soft almost siren like voice to this poem creates an eerie calm, it reminds me of how the trees move slightly in Tarkovsky films. I really like how this poem captures a precise moment, a moment of spilling over, it's a freeze frame of a bucket tipping over, it is a rabbit before it is clutched by the hawk. The theme of Nature being unfathomable and the smallness of the individual is also a concept that I think about a lot, and I try to convey in my art. I don't believe that we can ever achieve anything that is absolute. The stone of grand churches will all be ebbed away in time just as scientific laws will continue to be dis-proven. But it is this mystery, this awe inspiring wonder that keeps me alive.

1 comment:

owen said...

Very true aaron. Is this poem from one of Atwood's books?