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Best Famous Edwin Muir Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edwin Muir poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edwin Muir poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edwin Muir poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Edwin Muir poems.

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by Edwin Muir | |


 The rivulet-loving wanderer Abraham
Through waterless wastes tracing his fields of pasture
Led his Chaldean herds and fattening flocks
With the meandering art of wavering water
That seeks and finds, yet does not know its way.
He came, rested and prospered, and went on, Scattering behind him little pastoral kingdoms, And over each one its own particular sky, Not the great rounded sky through which he journeyed, That went with him but when he rested changed.
His mind was full of names Learned from strange peoples speaking alien tongues, And all that was theirs one day he would inherit.
He died content and full of years, though still The Promise had not come, and left his bones, Far from his father's house, in alien Canaan.

by Edwin Muir | |

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, Half will you take?’ ‘Half I’ll not take nor give, For he who gives gives all.
By halves you cannot live; Then let the barrier fall, In one circle have all.
’ “A wise and ancient scorner Said to me once: Beware The road that has no corner Where you can linger and stare.
Choose the square.
‘And let the circle run Its dull and fevered race.
You, my dear, are one; Show your soul in your face; Maintain your place.
‘Give, but have something to give.
No man can want you all.
Live, and learn to live.
When all the barriers fall You are nothing at all.

by Edwin Muir | |

In Love For Long

 I've been in love for long
With what I cannot tell
And will contrive a song
For the intangible
That has no mould or shape,
From which there's no escape.
It is not even a name, Yet is all constancy; Tried or untried, the same, It cannot part from me; A breath, yet as still As the established hill.
It is not any thing, And yet all being is; Being, being, being, Its burden and its bliss.
How can I ever prove What it is I love? This happy happy love Is sieged with crying sorrows, Crushed beneath and above Between todays and morrows; A little paradise Held in the world's vice.
And there it is content And careless as a child, And in imprisonment Flourishes sweet and wild; In wrong, beyond wrong, All the world's day long.
This love a moment known For what I do not know And in a moment gone Is like the happy doe That keeps its perfect laws Between the tiger's paws And vindicates its cause.

by Edwin Muir | |


 O Merlin in your crystal cave
Deep in the diamond of the day,
Will there ever be a singer
Whose music will smooth away
The furrow drawn by Adam's finger
Across the memory and the wave?
Or a runner who'll outrun
Man's long shadow driving on,
Break through the gate of memory
And hang the apple on the tree?
Will your magic ever show
The sleeping bride shut in her bower,
The day wreathed in its mound of snow
and Time locked in his tower?

by Edwin Muir | |

The Animals

 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 To plant a foot upon, Were never in any place.
For with names the world was called Out of the empty air, With names was built and walled, Line and circle and square, Dust and emerald; Snatched from deceiving death By the articulate breath.
But these have never trod Twice the familiar track, Never never turned back Into the memoried day.
All is new and near In the unchanging Here Of the fifth great day of God, That shall remain the same, Never shall pass away.

by Edwin Muir | |

Scotlands Winter

 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 water at the mill Sounds more hoarse and dull.
The miller's daughter walking by With frozen fingers soldered to her basket Seems to be knocking Upon a hundred leagues of floor With her light heels, and mocking Percy and Douglas dead, And Bruce on his burial bed, Where he lies white as may With wars and leprosy, And all the kings before This land was kingless, And all the singers before This land was songless, This land that with its dead and living waits the Judgement Day.
But they, the powerless dead, Listening can hear no more Than a hard tapping on the floor A little overhead Of common heels that do not know Whence they come or where they go And are content With their poor frozen life and shallow banishment.

by Edwin Muir | |

The Fathers

 Our fathers all were poor,
Poorer our fathers' fathers;
Beyond, we dare not look.
We, the sons, keep store Of tarnished gold that gathers Around us from the night, Record it in this book That, when the line is drawn, Credit and creditor gone, Column and figure flown, Will open into light.
Archaic fevers shake Our healthy flesh and blood Plumped in the passing day And fed with pleasant food.
The fathers' anger and ache Will not, will not away And leave the living alone, But on our careless brows Faintly their furrows engrave Like veinings in a stone, Breathe in the sunny house Nightmare of blackened bone, Cellar and choking cave.
Panics and furies fly Through our unhurried veins, Heavenly lights and rains Purify heart and eye, Past agonies purify And lay the sullen dust.
The angers will not away.
We hold our fathers' trust, Wrong, riches, sorrow and all Until they topple and fall, And fallen let in the day.

by Edwin Muir | |

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,

Would he, surrendering quick to obvious hate,
Fill half eternity with cries and tears,
Or watch beside Hell's little wicket gate
In patience for the first ten thousand years,

Feeling the curse climb slowly to his throat
That, uttered, dooms him to rescindless ill,
Forcing his praying tongue to run by rote,
Eternity entire before him still?

Would he at last, grown faithful in his station,
Kindle a little hope in hopeless Hell,
And sow among the damned doubts of damnation,
Since here someone could live, and live well?

One doubt of evil would bring down such a grace,
Open such a gate, and Eden could enter in,
Hell be a place like any other place,
And love and hate and life and death begin.