“The Moment” by Margaret Athwood


The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Margaret Atwood

 

“the moment when the trees unlose their soft arms from around you” is a nice image. The poet is talking about how we do not own nature and the moment we claim ownership of a house or a territory we lose touch with nature .Nature whispers that we do not own her ;rather she owns us. You were just a visitor,climbing the hill and planting a flag proclaiming ownership but the hill never belonged to you. “the air moves back from you like a wave” is another nice image ,immediately followed by “you cannot breathe”.That is because the trees have”unloosed their soft arms around you” ,depriving you of the precious oxygen which is essential for your life.

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