The Lonely Land

Original Text: 
A. J. M. Smith, The Complete Poems, ed. Brian Trehearne (London, Ontario: Canadian Poetry Press, 2007): 46-47.
1Cedar and jagged fir
2uplift sharp barbs
3against the gray
4and clouded-piled sky;
5and in the bay
7and thin, bitter spray
9at the whirling sky;
10and the pine trees
11lean one way.
12A wild duck calls
13to her mate,
14and the ragged
15and passionate tones
16stagger and fall,
17and recover,
18and stagger and fall,
19on these stones-
20are lost
21in the lapping of water
22on smooth, flat stones.
23This is a beauty
24of dissonance,
25this resonance
26of stony strand,
27this smoky cry
28curled over a black pine
29like a broken
30and wind-battered branch
31when the wind
32bends the tops of the pines
33and curdles the sky
34from the north.
35This is the beauty
36of strength
37broken by strength
38and still strong.


6] "wind-drift" is more likely than "wind-rift" (wind-belch). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
McGill Fortnightly Review
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © the estate of A.J.M. Smith. Included
with the generous permission of William Toye, his literary executor.