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The poetry of Sorley MacLean
The poetry of Sorley MacLean

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2.3.3 Landscape

You have heard this point discussed on the recording. ‘Kinloch Ainort’ is a rarity in MacLean's work – a poem ostensibly concerned with nothing but description of natural phenomena. Yet the erotic charge is unmistakeable. ‘Antlered bellowing’ is that of stags in rut. In ‘A Spring’, however, there is a conflict between love and landscape: the poet, obsessed with the image of his love in the water, is cut off from the glens and mountains which are indifferent to his obsession with her. ‘She To Whom I Gave...’ quietly evokes an immense tradition in European mythologies involving trees with human beings. Here the speaker's current rootedness is in tension with the ‘horizon opening the door to day’. ‘Spring Tide’ again identifies the speaker with stasis, touched by movement, which represents remembered love. The ‘ocean’, which is incomprehensible, briefly and deliciously floods over the sharp reefs and the ‘wrack of grief’.