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Edwin Muir

Edwin Muir

Photo credit: Howard Coster, quarter-plate film negative, 1945. NPG x24466. © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Animals

They do not live in the world,
Are not in time and space,
From birth to death hurled
No word do they have, not one,
To plant a foot upon,
Were never in any place.

For with names the world was called
Out of the empty air,
With names was built and walled,
Line and circle and square,
Dust and emerald;
Called from deceiving death
By the articulate breath.

But these have never trod
Twice the remembered track,
Never, never turned back
Into the memoried day.
All is new and near
In the unending Here
Of the fifth great day of God,
That shall remain the same,
Never shall pass away.

On the sixth day we came.