Betrayal

We present this piece in honor of the 60th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Edwin Muir
Scots
1887 – 1959

 

Sometimes I see, caught in a snare,
One with a foolish lovely face,
Who stands with scattered moon-struck air
Alone, in a wild woody place

She was entrapped there long ago.
Yet fowler none has come to see
His prize; though all the tree-trunks show
A front of silent treachery.

And there she waits, while in her flesh
Small joyless teeth fret without rest.
But she stands smiling in the mesh,
The while she is duped and dispossest.

I know her name; for it is told
That Beauty is a prisoner,
And that her gaoler, bleak and bold,
Scores her fine flesh, and murders her.

He slays her with invisible hands,
And inly wastes her flesh away,
And strangles her with stealthy bands;
Melts her as snow day after day.

Within his thicket life decays
And slow is changed by hidden guile;
And nothing now of Beauty stays,
Save her divine and witless smile.

For still she smiles, and does not know
Her feet are in the snaring lime.
He who entrapped her long ago,
And kills her, is unpitying Time.

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