Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Death of a Young Son by Drowning - Poem by Margaret Atwood

He, who navigated with success
the dangerous river of his own birth
once more set forth

on a voyage of discovery
into the land I floated on
but could not touch to claim.

His feet slid on the bank,
the currents took him;
he swirled with ice and trees in the swollen water

and plunged into distant regions,
his head a bathysphere;
through his eyes' thin glass bubbles

he looked out, reckless adventurer
on a landscape stranger than Uranus
we have all been to and some remember.

There was an accident; the air locked,
he was hung in the river like a heart.
They retrieved the swamped body,

cairn of my plans and future charts,
with poles and hooks
from among the nudging logs.

It was spring, the sun kept shining, the new grass
leapt to solidity;
my hands glistened with details.

After the long trip I was tired of waves.
My foot hit rock. The dreamed sails
collapsed, ragged.
I planted him in this country
like a flag.

Topic(s) of this poem: death, son


Comments about Death of a Young Son by Drowning by Margaret Atwood

  • Khairul Ahsan (6/29/2018 9:54:00 PM)


    This poem is so saddening! Deeply saddened by the tragic events described in the poem.
    The lines that I liked most, of the poem:
    'my hands glistened with details'... and
    'I planted him in this country
    like a flag.... so wonderful!
    (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (6/29/2018 9:51:00 PM)


    This poem is so saddening! Deeply saddened at the tragic event described.
    Two of the lines I liked most, of the poem:
    'my hands glistened with details'....
    'I planted him in this country
    like a flag'... so wonderful!
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (4/30/2016 12:51:00 PM)


    What can be more tragic incident in life than the death of a young son by drowning. Each word of this poem reflects the sadness of heart. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015



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