I was spoilt for choice in this section of Antonia Fraser’s anthology of Scottish love poetry. Some of my favourite ballads were there – The Daemon Lover, Clerk Saunders & Lord Randal. But, I chose a poem I hadn’t come across before by a poet I’m not familiar with. J F Hendry (1912-1986) was a writer & editor. Born in Glasgow, he served in the Royal Artillery during WWII & lived in Canada after the war, working at Laurentian University. The image of the compass in The Constant North reminds me of the metaphysical poets of the 17th century, especially John Donne, one of my favourite poets.
Encompass me, my lover,
With your eyes’ wide calm.
Though noonday shadows are assembling doom,
The sun remains when I remember them;
And death, if it should come,
Must fall like quiet snow from such clear skies.
Minutes we snatched from the unkind winds
Are grown into daffodils by the sea’s
Edge, mocking its green miseries;
Yet I seek you hourly still, over
A new Atlantis loneliness, blind
As a restless needle held by the constant north we always have in mind.