Is/Not Poem by Margaret Atwood


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.

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.

23 8 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 18 November 2023

Bravo, Eileen, thank you a myriad!

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Kay Nelson 04 December 2006

Members should be ashamed to not have anything written here.

9 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.

6 3 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 18 November 2023

This poem IS by Mrs. Atwood, sure!

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Brian De-Costa 16 July 2023

Interesting poem.

0 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 19 May 2022

An insightful piece nicely put together with conviction.....

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 18 May 2022

LAST RESPONSE: Finally the conclusion is that she speaks in cold terms of the way science and scientists would handle love and contrasts that handling with her own. It simply needs to exist in the world, in the "present" and that will suffice

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Sylvia Frances Chan 18 May 2022

This poem goes about LOVE which is my favourite theme in poems. The poetess only wants to tell us, the readers, that love is not to be compared as a scientific subject. Love needs to be understood and it is in the present tense. Vert clear message by the great Poetess

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Sylvia Frances Chan 18 May 2022

Most deserving as the Modern POem Of The Day! 5 Stars full

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