Learn More

Edwin Muir

(15 May 1887 – 3 January 1959 / Orkney / Scotland)

Reading in Wartime


Boswell by my bed,
Tolstoy on my table;
Thought the world has bled
For four and a half years,
And wives' and mothers' tears
Collected would be able
To water a little field
Untouched by anger and blood,
A penitential yield
Somewhere in the world;
Though in each latitude
Armies like forest fall,
The iniquitous and the good
Head over heels hurled,
And confusion over all:
Boswell's turbulent friend
And his deafening verbal strife,
Ivan Ilych's death
Tell me more about life,
The meaning and the end
Of our familiar breath,
Both being personal,
Than all the carnage can,
Retrieve the shape of man,
Lost and anonymous,
Tell me wherever I look
That not one soul can die
Of this or any clan
Who is not one of us
And has a personal tie
Perhaps to someone now
Searching an ancient book,
Folk-tale or country song
In many and many a tongue,
To find the original face,
The individual soul,
The eye, the lip, the brow
For ever gone from their place,
And gather an image whole.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010
Edited: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Reading in Wartime by Edwin Muir )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. An ugly sniper, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  2. AAA, Vera Sidhwa
  3. my love to you is simple, James Berth
  4. Ebola, Stephen Wylie
  5. To the occupied lands' people, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  6. colorblind, James Berth
  7. Why Didn't They Meet?, Lora Colon
  8. Longing for Love, Brenda Harris
  9. closed shop, lee fones
  10. Gentle Night The wick Has Burned, Is It Poetry

Poem of the Day

poet Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. A child said, What is the grass?, Walt Whitman
  10. "Hope" is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]