The Explorers

Original Text: 
Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1976): 44-45.
1The explorers will come
2in several minutes
3and find this island.
4(It is a stunted island,
5rocky, with room
6for only a few trees, a thin
7layer of soil; hardly
8bigger than a bed.
9That is how
10they've missed it
11until now)
12Already their boats draw near,
13their flags flutter,
14their oars push at the water.
15They will be jubilant
16and shout, at finding
17that there was something
18they had not found before.
19although this island will afford
20not much more than a foothold:
21little to explore;
22but they will be surprised
23(we can't see them yet;
24we know they must be
25coming, because they always come
26several minutes too late)
27(they won't be able
28to tell how long
29we were cast away, or why,
30or, from these
31gnawed bones,
32which was the survivor)
33at the two skeletons
Publication Start Year: 
1966
Publication Notes: 
The Circle Game (Toronto: Contact Press, 1966).
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2009
Special Copyright: 

"The Explorers" &#169; Margaret Atwood. Printed gratis, and specifically for <i>Representative Poetry Online</i>, with permission of the author. As published in <i>Selected Poems</i> (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1976). Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from Margaret Atwood.