Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Poet
Here is Alexander Anderson (1845-1909) writing (without any undue modesty) in praise of what a poet can achieve when he creates a poem.
The PoetLike a great tree beside the stream of life
The visioned poet stands,
And scatters forth his leaves of thought all rife,
As if from fairy hands.
And down, forever down the stream they float,
And work into the heart,
And there, by virtue of the magic thought,
Can never more depart.
But sleep unseen through all the weary day,
And waken up betimes
In the sweet night to cheer our gloom away
With their most pleasant chimes.
And in the hurry and the fret, the jar
Of restless things they come,
And act like oil upon the tempest's war
Till all the strife is dumb.
The labour of the wood and field, the slim
White clouds within the sky,
Have secrets Nature only shows to him
Who hath a poet's eye.
The unheard music and the gentle tones
Which float along her breast,
Give up their being unto him alone,
To tell it to the rest.
He is the necromancer who hath thrown
Open a wealth untold,
And placed within our hands the fabled stone
Whose touch turns all to gold.
O, noble poet, firm in thy great faith,
And in thy truth and love,
I prize thee as I do the dead, whose death
Has swelled the ranks above.
So in all earnestness my spirit sends
Its homage unto thee;
But this is naught, for from the sky descends
Meaning of unusual words:
rife = over abundant
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