Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems II: Poems Selected & New 1976-1986 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987): 52.
1There is nothing to be afraid of,
2it is only the wind
3changing to the east, it is only
4your father the thunder
5your mother the rain
6In this country of water
7with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,
8its drowned stumps and long birds
9that swim, where the moss grows
10on all sides of the trees
11and your shadow is not your shadow
12but your reflection,
13your true parents disappear
14when the curtain covers your door.
15We are the others,
16the ones from under the lake
17who stand silently beside your bed
18with our heads of darkness.
19We have come to cover you
20with red wool,
21with our tears and distant whispers.
22You rock in the rain's arms,
23the chilly ark of your sleep,
24while we wait, your night
25father and mother,
26with our cold hands and dead flashlight,
27knowing we are only
28the wavering shadows thrown
29by one candle, in this echo
30you will hear twenty years later.
Publication Start Year
Two-headed Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978).
RPO poem Editors
"Night Poem" © Margaret Atwood. Printed gratis, and specifically for <i>Representative Poetry Online</i>, with permission of the author. As published in <i>Selected Poems II</i> (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987). Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from Margaret Atwood.