the moment



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,


We never belonged to you.

You never found us.

It was always the other way round.

image credit:  along the kerry way – ireland

poetry credit: margaret atwood


85 responses »

  1. Oh, how poignant – the poem and the image. I hope we are leaving enough of nature intact, to move back in when we exit, and restore this planet. This struck me deeply this morning, Beth. Thank you!


  2. If more humans “got this”, wouldn’t our world be so totally different? You are so right. We own nothing. We are only strangers passing through. Thank you for this wonderful post. xx Amy


  3. Oh, Beth, I have goosebumps on top of goosebumps with this poem. It speaks so eloquently to the very core of me. Gorgeous prose–the perfect words. Margaret Atwood is a master. And I adore the photo you paired with her poetry. That was truly perfect. 🙂


  4. Great poem. Love the photo. I’d love to know where on the kerry way it is. I do think of this sentiment when I pass the many ruins in our countryside.


  5. What a wonderful poem and picture! On my first visit to the wild in Africa I pretty much felt this sentiment. It was beautiful and humbling at the same time. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Pingback: the moment | Artists4Peace

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