"All I Could See From Where I Stood Was Three Long Mountains And A Wood"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The poem records a psychological and spiritual experience wherein the poetess, beginning with an awareness of the gulf between the self and the non-self, transforms herself through the faculties of the imagination into an omniscient, ubiquitous spirit, blends with the Absolute, and finally re-establishes her individual identity (her renascence) through her willingness to accept her own limitations and to be bound by her physical world. The poem begins with a simple perceptive experience. The poetess scans the landscape within her view. She sees three mountains and a wood; turning she sees three islands. Having made a full circle, she in a sense has exhausted the immediate scope of her perception and has recognized the limitations of her nature. Realizing her physical limitations but eager to unite with Infinity, she is prepared for the self-induced trance which will take her to the essence of being and to the limits of experience. The poem begins:

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from. . . .