The Long Voyage

By Malcolm Cowley 1898–1989 Malcolm Cowley
Not that the pines were darker there,   
nor mid-May dogwood brighter there,   
nor swifts more swift in summer air;
    it was my own country,

having its thunderclap of spring,   
its long midsummer ripening,   
its corn hoar-stiff at harvesting,
    almost like any country,

yet being mine; its face, its speech,   
its hills bent low within my reach,   
its river birch and upland beech
    were mine, of my own country.

Now the dark waters at the bow
fold back, like earth against the plow;   
foam brightens like the dogwood now
    at home, in my own country.

Malcolm Cowley, “The Long Voyage” from Blue Juniata: A Life. Copyright © 1985 by Malcolm Cowley. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Source: Poetry (October 1938).


This poem originally appeared in the October 1938 issue of Poetry magazine

October 1938
 Malcolm  Cowley


In 1934 Malcolm Cowley published an autobiographical literary history, Exile's Return: A Narrative of Ideas, and established himself as an important writer. Three decades later in 1965 the editor of Literary Times would write, "Malcolm Cowley is, next to Edmund Wilson, the finest literary historian and critic . . . in America today."

While in the early 1930s Cowley's name was often associated with Communism and the political . . .

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Poems by Malcolm Cowley

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Trees & Flowers, Summer, Spring, Nature


Poetic Terms Syllabic, Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

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