A Sad Child Poem by Margaret Atwood

A Sad Child

Rating: 3.9

You're sad because you're sad.
It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.

Forget what?
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.

My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you're trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,

and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.

A Sad Child
Charley P 14 June 2007

I think that in the last two stanzas she is saying that even though this kid is sad because she feels like she is not the favourite, when the end of our lives come and we die (whether in a car accident or safe in bed, hence the burning car/blanket) then everyone's more or less the same anyway - either none of us is the favourite, or we all are.

39 16 Reply
german suuuu 14 October 2022

Why sis you spell you chalriegh wrogn! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! '! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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Mohammed Abdalla 20 October 2010

This poem is just awesome I love everything about it.

27 21 Reply
german suuuu 14 October 2022


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Suindu De 02 October 2023

Margarets beautiful poem seems overwhelming through our country, bestowed to our great children who would become the forever of our daily growing world by gods seemless goodness or beauty, flown from the angels howards us like the reflection in each moment

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Emma Duval 17 February 2023

People always say 'Go buy something to help you! ' It never works!

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Jose gonzalez 31 January 2022

Atwood tells us to buy a coat or hat to get rid of our depression. Doesnt work.

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Heyho McClory 31 January 2022

I don't think she was telling us that - she was reciting the trite things we are told to do when depressed like "take a walk" when you can't even get yourself out of bed let alone the door.

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Chinedu Dike 31 January 2022

Profound and insightful. Congrats on POD......

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Rose Marie Juan-austin 16 December 2021

A profound and moving poem with a great message. Beautifully expressed.

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

Ottawa, Ontario
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