Is/Not Poem by Margaret Atwood

Is/Not

Rating: 4.1


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 OF THE POEM
Eileen Slade 20 December 2006

This is only half the poem. People should be more observant and careful before posting on the internet, but I guess in this age of immediacy, that may be too much to ask. The rest of the poem is this (and the first part of the poem should be labeled with 'i.') : ii I am not a saint or a cripple, I am not a wound; now I will see whether I am a coward. I dispose of my good manners, you don't have to kiss my wrists. This is a journey, not a war, there is no outcome, I renounce predictions and aspirins, I resign the future as I would resign an expired passport: picture and signature gone along with holidays and safe returns. We're stuck here on this side of the border in this country of thumbed streets and stale buildings where there is nothing spectacular to see and the weather is ordinary where love occurs in its pure form only on the cheaper of the souvenirs where we must walk slowly, where we may not get anywhere or anything, where we keep going, fighting our ways, our way not out but through.

20 6 Reply
Kay Nelson 04 December 2006

Members should be ashamed to not have anything written here.

8 11 Reply
Sonya S 28 December 2006

is there by any chance another link to a website with this poem posted, because i can't find any and i need about two other sources confirming this poem is by margaret atwood.

5 3 Reply
M Asim Nehal 09 March 2016

Very well thought and written, message is very clear but what made her to think like this is a big question.

3 1 Reply
Alison M 12 March 2016

Hey, I'm doing an assigment about this poem and as I'm quite new to english poetry, I didn't really get the message. Would you be so kind to tell me what is the message of the poem? Of course you don't need to do it, but you would help me a lot.

1 0 Reply
Quoth Theraven 13 November 2020

All's fair in love and war. J.L.

0 1 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 20 May 2020

The poetess appears to be a type of Iyan Rand and her theory of objectivism. Well deserved modern poem of the day.

0 1 Reply
paul amrod 20 May 2020

This is a very sexy and direct approach to the issue of intimate body contact which has no rules or regulations. Through all the wonderful females of my life I have the feeling what this poet means. Thanks for sharing.

1 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 20 May 2020

you are not my doctor you are not my cure, nobody has that power, you are merely a fellow/traveller.... a very fine poem. tony

0 0 Reply
Erfan K Wandoor 20 May 2020

Simple poem but captivating

0 0 Reply
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