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Selected Poems II: 1976 - 1986

Margaret Atwood

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Variation on the Word Sleep I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen. I would like to watch you, sleeping. I would like to sleep with you, to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head. and walk with you through that lucent wavering forest of bluegreen leaves with its watery sun & three moons towards the cave where you must descend, towards your worst fear I would like to give you the silver branch, the small white flower, the one word that will protect you from the grief at the center of your dream, from the grief at the center. I would like to follow you up the long stairway again & become the boat that would row you back carefully, a flame in two cupped hands to where your body lies beside me, and you enter it as easily as breathing in I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary.”

“I want, I don’t want. How can one live with such a heart?”

“Nothing like love to put blood back in the language, the difference between the beach and its discrete rocks and shards, a hard cuneiform, and the tender cursive of waves; bone and liquid fishegg, desert and saltmarsh, a green push out of death. The vowels plump again like lips or soaked fingers, and the fingers themselves move around these softening pebbles as around skin. The sky's not vacant and over there but close against your eyes, molten, so near you can taste it. It tastes of salt. What touches you is what you touch.”

“Here is a handful of shadow I have brought back to you: this decay, this hope, this mouth- ful of dirt, this poetry.”

“Language, like the mouths that hold and release it, is wet & living, each   word is wrinkled with age, swollen with other words, with blood, smoothed by the numberless flesh tongues that have passed across it.   Your language hangs around your neck, a noose, a heavy necklace; each word is empire, each word is vampire and mother.”

“You will flicker in these words and in the words of others for a while and then go out. Even if I send them, you will never get these letters. Even if I see you again, I will never see you again.”

“Most hearts say, I want, I want, I want, I want. My heart is more duplicitous, though to twin as I once thought. It says, I want, I don’t want, I want, and then a pause. It forces me to listen,”

“All hearts float in their own deep oceans of no light, wetblack and glimmering, their four mouths gulping like fish. Hearts are said to pound: this is to be expected, the heart’s regular struggle against being drowned.”

“It is spring, and the night wind is moist with the smell of turned loam and the early flowers; the moon pours out its beauty which you see as beauty finally, warm and offering everything. You have only to take.”

“With you I could have more than one skin, a blank interior, a repertoire of untold stories, a fresh beginning.”

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Book Keywords:

want, love, fear, poetry

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