Poetry - The Interrogation
Edwin Muir was a 20th century poet from the Orkney Islands. His early life was marked by tragedy when several members of his family, including his father and mother, died after being uprooted from rural life to move to Glasgow. This poem, 'The Interrogation', is dark and Kafkaesque in mood and was originally published in a collection entitled The Labyrinth.
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We could have crossed the road but hesitated,
And then came the patrol;
The leader conscientious and intent,
The men surly, indifferent.
While we stood by and waited
The interrogation began. He says the whole
Must come out now, who, what we are,
Where we have come from, with what purpose, whose
Country or camp we plot for or betray.
Question on question.
We have stood and answered through the standing day
And watched across the road beyond the hedge
The careless lovers in pairs go by,
Hand linked in hand, wandering another star,
So near we could shout to them. We cannot choose
Answer or action here,
Though still the careless lovers saunter by
And the thoughtless field is near.
We are on the very edge,
Endurance almost done,
And still the interrogation is going on.
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