Margaret Atwood

Ottawa, Ontario

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
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COMMENTS
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.
0 0 Reply
om sonar 17 September 2020
this poem is not difficult but it's meanings are stranger.
1 0 Reply
Jake. 29 January 2019
English is hard and this makes it harder
8 1 Reply
Richard Paulson 02 May 2018
After reading a few of Margaret Atwood's 'poems', I see that they are not poems. At best they are poetic prose. This is like so much of what is called poetry since the 20th century. I attended a poetry slam recently and I doubt if there were any poems. Perhaps one or two, but my attention strayed. And one poor soul, I thought, how sad that he memorised his said 'poem' as he spouted it with a rap style voice.
3 5 Reply
nick meletopoulos 10 March 2020
i agree indeed.
0 0 Reply
jimmy 15 February 2018
this poem is the worst thing i have ever read.
11 7 Reply
biggest boy 31 January 2020
your the worst thing ive ever read
0 0 Reply
Nick Gurh 31 January 2020
im single and wont disappoint
0 0 Reply
big mamma 08 December 2020
wow but your right
0 0 Reply
Ashley Wright 24 January 2008
hey i thought it was a good poem.
75 118 Reply
Ashley Wright 17 January 2008
hi good day to meet you
69 107 Reply

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