The City Planners Poem by Margaret Atwood

The City Planners

Rating: 3.3

Cruising these residential Sunday
streets in dry August sunlight:
what offends us is
the sanities:
the houses in pedantic rows, the planted
sanitary trees, assert
levelness of surface like a rebuke
to the dent in our car door.
No shouting here, or
shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt
than the rational whine of a power mower
cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.

But though the driveways neatly
sidestep hysteria
by being even, the roofs all display
the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky,
certain things:
the smell of spilled oil a faint
sickness lingering in the garages,
a splash of paint on brick surprising as a bruise,
a plastic hose poised in a vicious
coil; even the too-fixed stare of the wide windows

give momentary access to
the landscape behind or under
the future cracks in the plaster

when the houses, capsized, will slide
obliquely into the clay seas, gradual as glaciers
that right now nobody notices.

That is where the City Planners
with the insane faces of political conspirators
are scattered over unsurveyed
territories, concealed from each other,
each in his own private blizzard;

guessing directions, they sketch
transitory lines rigid as wooden borders
on a wall in the white vanishing air

tracing the panic of suburb
order in a bland madness of snows

Ashley Wright 24 January 2008

hey i thought it was a good poem.

80 122 Reply
Ashley Wright 17 January 2008

hi good day to meet you

73 113 Reply
keys 21 November 2021


1 2 Reply
Jamie Judith 09 September 2022


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John William 26 September 2022

It is a good poem which talks about how a world is doomed to fall apart and be rebuilt

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ffdf 09 September 2022


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no name 19 January 2022

you live in a bratclub

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sac 27 October 2021

u bugers r wrong this poem gives u a good meaning and u stupid ppl cant understand thts the prob

3 2 Reply
Derick Nazareth 15 November 2020

one of the literacy devices used is imagery. this would help the reader to picture the scenario going on. “Cruising these residential” the reader makes it seem like everything is calm and peaceful.

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anonymous 09 August 2022

yup, the vocabulary used throughout really reflects what Atwood was trying to express. theres the vocabulary you mentioned at the start, which then shifts tone at the third line, where the narrator gets offended. its really interesting.

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