Searching for the True

Searching for the True

This week’s choice is “The Confirmation” by Edwin Muir, reflecting the moment when we find that special someone.

I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true

Edwin Muir (1887—1959)

Poem 246. The Confirmation

Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you as a traveller finds a place
Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong
Valleys and rocks and twisting roads. But you,
What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste,
A well of water in a country dry,
Or anything that’s honest and good, an eye
That makes the whole world bright. Your open heart,
Simple with giving, gives the primal deed,
The first good world, the blossom, the blowing seed,
The hearth, the steadfast land, the wandering sea,
Not beautiful or rare in every part,
But like yourself, as they were meant to be.

Edwin Muir’s poem evokes that sensation of finding the person who completes you, your soulmate. He likens the moment to a traveller who has searched fruitlessly and protractedly amid a wilderness before finally discovering a hospitable resting place.

The subject of his poem is like an oasis to him: a spring in a desert waste: he or she “makes the whole world bright” with their honesty and goodness. Their simplicity and openness are like a rebirth of the world with its flowers and seeds, warm firesides, the sea and land: not all of which is remarkable or scenic but has its own place in creation, just as his lover does.

I like the poem because it reminds me of that moment which I remember so well and perhaps may experience again in time, and because the imagery is so good—the oasis in the desert and that phrase “the steadfast land, the wandering sea” which perfectly encapsulates the nature of those things.


  • Watch Bill Hicks’s performance on YouTube. I have started the clip a minute in since he makes some introductory remarks.