Thursday, November 8, 2018

"This Is a Photograph of Me" by Margaret Atwood


It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)

Source of the text – Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems 1965-1975.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976, p. 8.

TJB: Photo of invisible things. First, we see the photograph (poem?) as blurry, then meaning slowly emerges; then we begin to see the invisible.

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