x

‘Fatal Light Awareness,’
A Poem by Margaret Atwood

With Photographs by Owen Deutsch from Bringing Back the Birds

July 17, 2019  By Margaret Atwood
0


A thrush crashed into my window:
one lovely voice the less
killed by glass as mirror—

a rich magician’s illusion of trees—
and by my laziness:
Why didn’t I hang the lattice?

Up there in the night air
among the high-rises, music dies
as you fire up your fake sunrises:
your light is the birds’ last darkness.

All over everywhere
their feathers are falling—
warm, not like snow—
though melting away.

We are a dying symphony.
No bird knows this,
but us—we know

what our night magic does.
Our dark light magic.

Arctic tern Gannet Rufous-crested coquette Violet tailed sylph Bald eagle

_____________________________________________________

“Fatal Light Awareness” by Margaret Atwood first appeared in Bringing Back the Birds: Exploring Migration and Preserving Birdscapes Throughout the Americas (2019), from American Bird Conservancy and nonprofit publisher Braided River. Published with permission. All photos by Owen Deutsch.




Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in more than forty-five countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; The Heart Goes Last; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in Great Britain for services to literature and her novel The Testaments won the Booker Prize and was longlisted for The Giller Prize. She lives in Toronto.








More Story
How to Taste Chocolate Like an Expert “Try to recall the smell of foods you like (such as freshly baked bread or pungent cheeses) or the aroma of nature itself:...