A Short Take on Wolves

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer known for her poetry, novels, and literary criticism, among other work. My first introduction to her writing was her 1992 book of short stories, “Good Bones“. As I was searching for it the other day I realized that only three books by Margaret Atwood remain in my library, “Good Bones” not being one of them. I’m hoping it’s safely tucked away in one of the boxes out in the garage like so many other books of mine that have “disappeared” through the years. I’ll check one day.

Until then, here is Short Take on Wolves from “Dearly: New Poems“, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade.

Short Takes on Wolves
by Margaret Atwood


A wolf in pain
admits nothing.
His dinner bit him.
It was a miscalculation,
and now it will be a disaster.
You can’t go far with a ripped foot:
among wolves, no doctors.


A wolf is courteous up to a point.
You have to watch their ears.
Forward, they’re willing to listen.
Back, you’ve bored them.


Sit in the dark. Keep quiet.
Don’t light that cigarette
or smear on the blackfly goo.
It’s not a speed-dating venue.
It’s not a zoo.
You want to see the wolf
or demand your money back,
but the wolf doesn’t want to see you.


Wolf nightmares involve cars,
long needles, iron muzzles,
cramped cages with hard bars,
creatures who smell like you.
Wolf happy dreams, on the other hand,
are of endless taiga,
dens dug under stones,
limping and stupid caribou,
their tender bones.

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