Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Is/Not - Poem by Margaret Atwood

Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

sex is not dentistry
the slick filling of aches and cavities

you are not my doctor
you are not my cure,

nobody has that
power, you are merely a fellow/traveller

Give up this medical concern,
buttoned, attentive,

permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your suprise

which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease

but against you,
which does not need to be understood

or washed or cauterized,
which needs instead

to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.

Comments about Is/Not by Margaret Atwood

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (9/16/2018 10:07:00 PM)

    The LAST PART: I cannot define this as a soliloquy, but I must keep indeed the present tense and permit me, please, this last part. Thank you so much for your most valuable advice and my favorit theme: Love. Absolutely, Love is not a profession, genteel or otherwise. Thank you for these valuable words, which I regard as a most important advice. This present tensed poem makes my day, dear poetess Margaret. (Report) Reply

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  • Sylvia Frances Chan (9/16/2018 9:02:00 PM)

    THIRD PART: Indeed, dear poetess, it IS and needs to be said and said, permit me to cite your valuable last two lines here, thank you so much. My sincerest thanks for this most thought provoking dialogue. The very best wishes from Sylvia Frances Chan from the Netherlands. (Report) Reply

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (9/16/2018 8:43:00 PM)

    SECOND PART: This is truly a thought provoking poem, magnificently rendered. I have read and reread, the precious words are still lingering in my mind and I am amazed about the powerful words well thought, created and used here. A most deserving choice. Thank you so much for sharing this intriguing poem. God's Blessings in Abundance be upon thee. Amen. A 10+++++++ for the voting and rating according to the poem site here. (Report) Reply

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (9/16/2018 8:40:00 PM)

    FIRST PART: First of all Congratulations upon being chosen as Modern Poem Of The Day, Hurray! It's oft a greatest surprise from my side which poem will be chosen and who the poet/poetess will be. Earlier in time, you had been chosen too by Poem hunter's Organisation, I still remember. Please read the SECOND PART, thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Lyn Paul (9/16/2018 4:25:00 PM)

    Amazing and thought provoking words. May I come back and read more. (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (9/16/2018 9:52:00 AM)

    Love is not...indeed. So well said Margaret. In love there should be freedom to be and let be yes. Thank you for sharing this masterpiece and congratulations for POD choice. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/16/2018 8:52:00 AM)

    Thanks and congratulation again for being selected this poem as the poem of the day for second time. (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (9/16/2018 7:41:00 AM)

    Please don't sanitize life. 'permit yourself anger, and permit me mine' (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (9/16/2018 7:38:00 AM)

    Margaret has identified in this poem a fault of mine and a fault, I understand, common to men, i.e., the desire to want to fix things in people, including those in our lovers. O the grace to just listen! -GK (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (9/16/2018 7:07:00 AM)

    A beautiful poem indeed. Loved the way you spilled your thoughts on love. Congrats on being chosen as poem of the day. (Report) Reply

  • (9/16/2018 3:32:00 AM)

    Outstanding poetry A lesson to us would be poets (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (9/16/2018 1:25:00 AM)

    Such an outstanding poem by Margaret Atwood👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • (6/29/2018 3:00:00 PM)

    Here is what Margaret Atwood trying to say about love and:

    https: //
    (Report) Reply

  • Sylvaonyema Uba (2/11/2017 11:31:00 PM)

    Permit me the present tense.

    Nice poem.
    Words well chosen for grammatical effect.

    (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (11/30/2016 7:48:00 PM)

    When one reads the entire poem, as shown below, thankfully by Eileen Slade, it is far more revealing in the picture it supposes of life as it just plain is. The last verse sums it up perfectly. Fighting our way not out, just through, everyone. (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/30/2016 10:34:00 AM)

    Perfect line for nightclub comic: sex is not dentistry - the slick filling of aches and cavities =: -) (Report) Reply

  • (11/30/2016 3:20:00 AM)

    An awesome poem about much more than just love and sex. When it relates to Margaret Atwood, look for the unexpected. Even without the second have, it deserves the honor of Poem Of The Day! That being said, thank you Eileen for presenting the full version. It became even more Awesome! (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (11/30/2016 1:26:00 AM)

    Beautiful presentation on love and sex. Congratulation for this poem as a poem of the day...10 (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (11/30/2016 12:59:00 AM)

    nobody has that
    power, you are merely a fellow/traveller...

    The frailty of humankind.......
    (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (11/30/2016 12:58:00 AM)

    This poem is a bit confusing...what is the poet trying to say about love and the lover...I can't get clearly...because many medical words are used...I would call this a medicinal love poem (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: anger, power, love

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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