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Circle and Square

Edwin Muir 1887 (Orkney) – 1959 (Cambridge)



‘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.’

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edwin Muir

Edwin Muir was an Orcadian poet, novelist and translator, born on a farm in Deerness on the Orkney Islands. He is remembered for his deeply felt and vivid poetry in plain language with few stylistic preoccupations. more…

All Edwin Muir poems | Edwin Muir Books

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