lotesse: (glamazon)
So I guess it's Edmund Wilson's birthday toady? 'Oo those awful orcs' Edmund Wilson.

I have to say that one of the great unexpected pleasures I've found in reading up on Edna St. Vincent Millay's biography is the grace, persistence, and brutality with which she dismissed him and his overinterested dick over the years.
lotesse: (Default)
From "Sonnets From an Ungrafted Tree," Edna St. Vincent Millay:

IX.

Not over-kind nor over-quick in study
Nor skilled in sports nor beautiful was he,
Who had come into her life when anybody
Would have been welcome, so in need was she.
They had become acquainted in this way:
He flashed a mirror in her eyes at school;
By which he was distinguished; from that day
They went about together, as a rule.
She told, in secret and with whispering,
How he had flashed a mirror in her eyes;
And as she told, it struck her with surprise
That this was not so wonderful a thing.
But what's the odds? — It's pretty nice to know
You've got a friend to keep you company everywhere you go.
lotesse: (falling)
Dirge without Music
Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
lotesse: (green)
too sleepy for any coherence today. have a poem instead:

PORTRAIT BY A NEIGHBOR

Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Till past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon.

She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
And pays you back cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!

~Edna St. Vincent Millay
lotesse: (Default)
'Cause I love me some historical ladywriters. From the top: 1. Christina Rossetti, 2-3. Charlotte Brontë, 4. Emily Brontë, 5-6. George Eliot, 7. Louisa May Alcott, 8. Gene Stratton Porter (<3), 9. Lucy Maud Montgomery, 10-12. Virginia Woolf, 13-14. Edna St. Vincent Millay



of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen )
lotesse: (millay_spring)
Elegy Before Death, Edna St. Vincent Millay

There will be rose and rhododendron
When you are dead and under ground;
Still will be heard from white syringas
Heavy with bees, a sunny sound;

Still will the tamaracks be raining
After the rain has ceased, and still
Will there be robins in the stubble,
Brown sheep upon the warm green hill.

Spring will not ail nor autumn falter;
Nothing will know that you are gone,
Saving alone some sullen plough-land
None but yourself sets foot upon;

Saving the may-weed and the pig-weed
Nothing will know that you are dead,—
These, and perhaps a useless wagon
Standing beside some tumbled shed.

Oh, there will pass with your great passing
Little of beauty not your own,—
Only the light from common water,
Only the grace from simple stone!
lotesse: (shakespeare_pearls)
The Concert

No, I will go alone.
I will come back when it's over.
Yes, of course I love you.
No, it will not be long.
Why may you not come with me?—
You are too much my lover.
You would put yourself
Between me and song.

If I go alone,
Quiet and suavely clothed,
My body will die in its chair,
And over my head a flame,
A mind that is twice my own,
Will mark with icy mirth
The wise advance and retreat
Of armies without a country,
Storming a nameless gate,
Hurling terrible javelins down
From the shouting walls of a singing town

Where no women wait!
Armies clean of love and hate,
Marching lines of pitiless sound
Climbing hills to the sun and hurling
Golden spears to the ground!
Up the lines a silver runner
Bearing a banner whereon is scored
The milk and steel of a bloodless wound
Healed at length by the sword!

You and I have nothing to do with music.
We may not make of music a filigree frame,
Within which you and I,
Tenderly glad we came,
Sit smiling, hand in hand.

Come now, be content.
I will come back to you, I swear I will;
And you will know me still.
I shall be only a little taller
Than when I went.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
lotesse: (Default)
First, a rec: The House of Your Heart is Lit From Within, a gorgeous Prydain NYR fic that [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose unknowingly wrote for one of my Boy's yuletide prompts.

Second, I just have to register my nebulous and yet ongoing squee over DreamWidth. This is going to be sooo cool homg. (and oh my god do I ever want one of those codes!)

Third, a poem in honor of the cruellest month, in hopes that it will not be so for me:

Song Of A Second April
Edna St. Vincent Millay

April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago,
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Of dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
In orchards near and far away
The grey wood-pecker taps and bores;
The men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep,
Noisy and swift the small brooks run
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun,
Pensively,—only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.
lotesse: (poetry)
Wild Swans

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!



Edna St. Vincent Millay
lotesse: (poetry)
It's Edna St. Vincent Millay's birthday today. Reading her makes me remember why I do this is the first place - I've been feeling worn down of late, doubting the reasons for my work with literature, doubting that I'm doing anything useful at all, and I've had some pretty big academic disappointments in the past couple of days. But when I read Millay it all makes sense, and most of it stops mattering, because her poems are beautiful and that's really all the meaning I need. So happy birthday, Vincent, and thank you.

Witch-Wife

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.
lotesse: (night wind)
for Kurt Vonnegut and [livejournal.com profile] thamiris

Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green stripéd bag,
or a jack-knife,
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die. They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it's much too small, because she won't
curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.
But you do not wake up a month from then, two months
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God! Oh, God!
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
—mothers and fathers don't die.

And if you have said, "For heaven's sake, must you always
be kissing a person?"
Or, "I do wish to gracious you'd stop tapping on the window
with your thimble!"
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you're busy having fun,
Is plenty of time to say, "I'm sorry, mother."

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died,
who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries;
they are not tempted.
Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and
shake them and yell at them;
They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed; they slide
back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,
And leave the house.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
lotesse: (olivia)
Spring
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
lotesse: (Default)
First: Alito is still on the Supreme Court. I had rather hope that the whole thing was a bad dream, but oh well. Looks like he'll be there for most of my life, so I may as well get used to it.

Second: Coretta Scott King died yesterday. She was one of the last leaders of the civil rights movement who held that all freedoms were to be fought for, including LGBT rights. Her daughter is not so generous.Ominous, that we loose the courts and a great leader on the same day.

Third: Cindy Sheehan was arrested last night for attending the State of the Union address wearing a t-shirt that listed the number of soldiers dead in Iraq. Some reprots stated that she had a protest banner, but this has been recanted. She was just wearing a t-shirt with a statistic on it. She had emended it by hand because three more soldiers had died since the shirt was printed. More: http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002355.htm

Last: Apostrophe on the Race of Man

(On reflecting that the world
is ready to go to war again)

Detestable race, continue to expunge yourself, die out.
Breed faster, crowd, encroach, sing hymns, build
bombing airplanes;
Make speeches, unveil statues, issue bonds, parade;
Convert again into explosives the bewildered ammonia
and the distracted cellulose;
Convert again into putrescent matter drawing flies
The hopeful bodies of the young; exhort,
Pray, pull long faces, be earnest,
be all but overcome, be photographed;
Confer, perfect your formulae, commercialize
Bacteria harmful to human tissue,
Put death on the market;
Breed, crowd, encroach,
expand, expunge yourself, die out,
Homo called sapiens.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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