A phrase remains

silver beech

Two poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay today.

The first is playful, it sounds like a chant you might make running through the woods, or when making magic wands.

The second is a stark contrast despite the similar sense of enumeration. It holds the sadness and determination I normally think of when her name pops up. (The first poem of hers I ever read was Conscientious Objector, so that set the tone.)

Counting-Out Rhyme

 

Silver bark of beech, and sallow

Bark of yellow birch and yellow

Twig of willow.

 

Stripe of green in moosewood maple,

hornbeam

Colour seen in leaf of apple,

Bark of popple.

 

Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,

Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,

Wood of hornbeam.

 

Silver bark of beech, and hollow

Stem of elder, tall and yellow

Twig of willow.

 

peace rose

 

Dirge without Music

 

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s