Margaret Atwood is one of Canada's most celebrated poets. She also has written more than 20 novels, and won scores of awards for literature.
"The Door" is her first book of poems in more than a decade, according to reviewers. It is a mix of themes. But one stands out. And it is disturbing . . . at least her viewpoint of something millions of Americans -- and Canadians for that matter -- find perfectly normal. In a poem called, "The Autumn," she writes of the woods.
See if anything in the following verse, where she advises readers to stay out of the woods, bothers you:
"It's filled with angry old men / sneaking around in camouflage gear / pretending no one can see them/ They aren't hunters, these men. / They have none of the patience of hunters, / none of the remorse."
She then concludes her verse with the following:
"I remember the long hours crouching in the high marsh grasses - the low sky empty, the water silent, the hushed colours of distant trees - waiting for the rush of wings, half-hoping nothing would happen."
Her verse strikes me as self important nonsense about wanting to keep the woods to herself and not share their beauty with anyone else. She forgets, however, that the woods have been filled with people -- men and women -- long before she was born (that would be in 1939).
Anyway, her writing has been pegged as powerful because she takes on big subjects, and because she rarely uses rhyme in her verse. Filled with a twisted sense of humor, I am struck by the fact that no one has probably ever written a limerick about Ms. Atwood. Yes, a limerick. One of the more controversial types of poetry, limericks are five-line poems with a strict form originally popularized in English by Edward Lear.
Ms. Atwood's attitude about people in the woods is disturbing, to say the least. It's sad, actually. So I think a limerick contest is in order. Anyone out there want to finish what I start? Or better yet, write your own? I only ask that they not be X-rated (or what is it now, NC-17?). One of the things about limericks is that in true folk form, they are usually obscene. And the clean ones are, well, boring.
So here goes. Fill in the rest, or give it your own best shot.
"There was a poet named Atwood,
Whose attitude about hunters was no good,