The poem “Bored” illustrates the poetess’ childhood when she would be bored with nothing significant to do, and linger in the shadow of her father. The verse “bored out of my mind” may imply that she is bored beyond words. It may also signify that the feeling that she is bored shows that she is simply out of her mind. The second interpretation is more in keeping with the theme of the poem. She was bored holding the log while her father sawed it. Her job was confined to the weeding of the lettuces and beets for which her father “ pounded/stakes into the ground for rows and rows.” She would have to be content staying at he backseat of the car. The poetess here laments from the point of view of the child, as the lament arose from not giving her any ‘real’ work or entrusting her with responsibility. The poetess now, loaded with responsibilities and obligations, feels how foolish she was at that time to feel that way. She longs to transcend to that care-free world yet again.

The act of sawing was much tougher, the pounding of stakes more tedious. Sitting at the back of the car looked like ‘taking a backseat.’ Nevertheless, it also meant sitting without tension or  merely being a witness to the destination. Just as ,for instance, a person participating in a stage –show may consider himself significant enough to perform. But the viewers are more lucky in the sense that they are tension-free ,without fretting about preparation and can watch the show without any extraneous thought at the back of their heads. Or like when the speaker sat ‘still’ in the boat at ease,

“or sat still in boats,

sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel

he drove, steered, paddled. “

At that point of time it seemed as if he showed her the direction in the boat. Nevertheless, now it feels as if she did not have to fret about finding the direction. The poetess says that it was not even boredom. But looking hard up and close at the slightest details, she terms it as “myopia.” It was rather her “short-sightedness.” She could not envisage things from a broader point of view.

The worn gunwales,

the intricate twill of the seat

cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular

pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans

of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying

bristles on the back of his neck.

Sometimes the poetess’ father would whistle ,and sometimes she would. This alternate whistling signified the rhythm of doing things again and again in a mechanical routine. However, this mechanized routine was far from superfluous tensions. They were limited to domestic chores like drying the wood, and doing the dishes. Animals whiled their way in a similar manner-ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels, shuffling the leaves in their burrows. The poetess seems to indicate that being irrational is better than being rational. Though the climate was rainy(gloomy) and filled with bird-song( a symbol of melancholy, the speaker looks back now as she comprehends that it was sunnier(“ happier”).

I could hardly wait to get

the hell out of there to

anywhere else

Margaret Atwood would currently like someone to open a door into the freedom of the past. However, the poetess asserts that though boredom is happier, it is for dogs or groundhogs. For one much not find boredom in the small things of life. True happiness consists in finding joy in the little things of life, and making it worthwhile as it lasts.

Now I would know too much.

Now I would know.

©Rukhaya MK 2010

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