Scotland's 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

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Comments (6)

this is rehashed Horace.
This poem is going to haunt me... there are some countries that seem to breed such melancholy thoughts, their folklore looking back to heroes long time gone but not forgotten under the soil of their homeland., Incredible piece of writing.
Seems to be knocking! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
The view of his homeland in this poem makes me think it signals why he left and eventually came to live in California. -GK
Such an interesting write by Edwin Muir👍👍👍
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