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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Snatched from deceiving death/By the articulate breath

I've had this volume of the collected poems of Edwin Muir (1887-1959) for several years now, but for some reason, I have hardly ever dipped into it. Which made it a pleasant surprise to discover the following superb poem today (from a series of meditations on time and eternity in his 1956 collection One Foot in Eden):


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.

On the sixth day we came.

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