Edwin Muir was an Orcadian poet, novelist and noted translator. Remembered for his deeply felt and vivid poetry in plain, unostentatious language with few stylistic preoccupations, Muir is a significant modern poet.
Muir was born in Deerness, where his mother was also born, at Hacco, remembered in his autobiography as "Haco". In 1901, when he was 14, his father lost his farm, and the family moved to Glasgow. In quick succession his father, two brothers, and his mother died within the space of a few years. His life as a young man was a depressing experience, and involved a raft of unpleasant jobs in factories and offices, including working in a ... more »
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Edwin Muir Poems
Barely a twelvemonth after The seven days war that put the world to sleep, Late in the evening the strange horses came. By then we had made our covenant with silence,
Those lumbering horses in the steady plough, On the bare field - I wonder, why, just now, They seemed terrible, so wild and strange,
All through that summer at ease we lay, And daily from the turret wall We watched the mowers in the hay And the enemy half a mile away
The Good Man in Hell
If a good man were ever housed in Hell By needful error of the qualities, Perhaps to prove the rule or shame the devil, Or speak the truth only a stranger sees,
They do not live in the world, Are not in time and space. From birth to death hurled No word do they have, not one
O Merlin in your crystal cave Deep in the diamond of the day, Will there ever be a singer Whose music will smooth away
Circle and Square
‘I give you half of me; No more, lest I should make A ground for perjury. For your sake, for my sake,
The Child Dying
Unfriendly friendly universe, I pack your stars into my purse, And bid you so farewell. That I can leave you, quite go out,
It was not meant for human eyes, That combat on the shabby patch Of clods and trampled turf that lies Somewhere beneath the sodden skies
Now the ice lays its smooth claws on the sill, The sun looks from the hill Helmed in his winter casket, And sweeps his arctic sword across the sky.
The Incarnate One
The windless northern surge, the sea-gull's scream, And Calvin's kirk crowning the barren brae. I think of Giotto the Tuscan shepherd's dream, Christ, man and creature in their inner day.
In Love For Long
I've been in love for long With what I cannot tell And will contrive a song For the intangible
We were a tribe, a family, a people. Wallace and Bruce guard now a painted field, And all may read the folio of our fable, Peruse the sword, the sceptre and the shield.
Our fathers all were poor, Poorer our fathers' fathers; Beyond, we dare not look. We, the sons, keep store
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radios dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, ...