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April is National Poetry Month

Saturday, April 09, 2011

April is National Poetry Month, so I am sharing the following poem by Edna St Vincent Millay. Just read it, and make of it what you will.

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 underground 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,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Did you know Edna St Vincent Millay died falling down a flight of uncarpeted stairs?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh, the power of words. I shall always remember April coming like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

    And I choose to believe the authors glimpse of hopelessness was overcome again by the voice of innocence.
    2017 days ago
    The introduction that our mother wrote to her book of poems was very prophetic about her death which turned out to be one month after her book was published in -- April.

    2024 days ago
    BTW, you may have known this about Mary Oliver (also a Pulitzer Prize holder)::

    "Mary Oliver began writing poetry at the age of 14, and at 17 visited the home of the late Pulitzer Prize winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, in Austerlitz, upper New York state. She and Norma, the poet’s sister, became friends and Oliver more or less lived there for the next six or seven years, running around the 800 acres like a child, helping Norma, or at least being company to her and assisting with organizing the late poet's papers."

    2025 days ago
  • CANDOK1260
    well I think sometime I am have depress as this poem . I understand it. You have shown us some wonderful potery thanks
    2026 days ago
    I heard she had a heart attack and then fell down the steps. It is clear from this poem that she was not a happy person and it was published when she was 29. I wonder if she ever found herself before she died.
    2026 days ago
    Awwww....Trace (STLRZGRRL), thanks for dragging me over to visit! I always love it when I'm here, I just don't take the time to make the trip, ya'know?

    The image of April, of life, is so vivid and TRUE...the yin and the and and the void.
    2026 days ago
    That IS prophetic.
    2026 days ago
    I have to agree with her, the uncarpeted stairs are not to my liking. But I love spring!
    2028 days ago
    Oh dear, she must have been in a bad mood when she wrote that. I like the imagery though.
    2028 days ago
    Thanks for telling me it's National Poetry Month. emoticon
    2028 days ago
    2028 days ago
    How appropriate that she chose to go out that way...

    because she knew what she knew?

    Yep. I know what I know.

    Even as I might be afraid to know it... thank you for this, CM... and for bringing so much happy to me as we go along the path...

    2029 days ago
    "...a flight of uncarpeted stairs." Why does that evoke so much? How can a description so seemingly banal be so visceral?
    2029 days ago
    Wow, thanks for the poem. It's a good one, if a little depressing. How weird that she died falling down a stairway.
    2029 days ago
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