The book was published in London in 1930. The colophon on the reverse side of the title page states: "275 copies only for sale have been printed of NORTHERN LIGHT. Each copy has been signed by the Author." Immediately beneath the colophon is a tiny, neat signature in light blue ink (from a nib, not a ball-point): "L. A. G. Strong." Leonard Alfred George Strong (1896-1958) belonged to that now nearly extinct species known as "the English man of letters." In addition to poetry, he wrote novels, short stories, plays, biographies, and literary criticism. I first came to know of him through A New Anthology of Modern Verse, 1920-1940, which he co-edited with C. Day Lewis.
There are several lovely poems in Northern Light. But there is one that stands out for me, and to which I return, either in my mind or by revisiting the book. It is a poem that has appeared here in the past.
Now the long wave unfolded falls from the West,
The sandbirds run upon twittering, twinkling feet:
Life is perilous, poised on the lip of a wave,
And the weed that lay yesterday here is clean gone.
O visitor, fugitive creature, thing of a tide,
Make music, my heart, before the long silence.
L. A. G. Strong, Northern Light (Victor Gollancz 1930).
Yesterday evening, I was in a wistful, vaguely unsettled mood, for no particular reason, internal or external. Was it the vernal equinox, perhaps? No. Just a mood. But I suddenly felt the need to read "Garramor Bay." There you have it.
Dane Maw (1906-1989), "Scottish Landscape, Air Dubh"