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 Poet

Like 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
   Thine immortality.

Meaning of unusual words:
rife = over abundant

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

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