Edwin Muir

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

Scotland's Winter - Poem by Edwin Muir

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.


Comments about Scotland's Winter by Edwin Muir

  • (2/7/2018 8:59:00 PM)


    this is rehashed Horace. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (2/7/2018 3:35:00 PM)


    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. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (2/7/2018 12:35:00 PM)


    Seems to be knocking! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (2/7/2018 7:14:00 AM)


    The view of his homeland in this poem makes me think it signals why he left and eventually came to live in California. -GK (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (2/7/2018 4:43:00 AM)


    a piece of life
    uncertainty before and after
    yet seek you O love in thousands rife!
    (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (2/7/2018 1:17:00 AM)


    Such an interesting write by Edwin Muir👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (6/20/2015 8:30:00 PM)


    The Bruce haunts this poet and this his winter of the soul (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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?

Read poems about / on: daughter, winter, water, sky, sun, light, life, war



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Report Error]