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Posts tagged ‘Savage Beauty’

Poetry ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~              

Savage Beauty

poetess Millay

About poetry I can be very brief, and atypically, I will be in this post.

I know very little about it and it will likely be that way for the rest of my life.  However, I was once completely smitten by the memory of Edna St. Vincent Millay.  In 1996, on the Microsoft Bookshelf CD with quotations, she grabbed my attention with a poem that was quoted in a few movies (such as A river runs through it).

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

It was apparently short enough to make me read it, I’d burned the candle at both ends myself many times, and when someone told me she was known as a cheeky poetess, I wanted to know more.


So my journey began.  I read a lot of her poetry, first online and later in books.  Especially the biography Savage Beauty cast a spell on me.  I was in love, in lust, with a long deceased person.  I visited Camden, Maine, Poughkeepsie, New York, and last, Steepletop (her farm) in New York and that’s where the spell was broken.  Poof! in one go, she released me.  She apparently had this effect on both men and women when she was alive, and undoubtedly let them go at the drop of a hat also.  The biographer did a really good job!


Sometimes, oh, often, indeed, in the midst of ugly adversity, beautiful
Memories return.
You awake in wonder, you awake at half-past four,
Wondering what wonder is in store.
You reach for your clothes in the dark and pull them on, you
have no time
Even to wash your face, you have to climb Megunticook.

You run through the sleeping town; you do not arouse
Even a dog, you are so young and so light on your feet.
What a way to live, what a way…
No breakfast, not even hungry. An apple, though,
In the pocket.
And the only people you meet are store-windows.

The path up the mountain is stony and in places steep,
And here it is really dark — wonderful, wonderful,
Wonderful — the smell of bark
And rotten leaves and dew! And nobody awake
In all the world but you! —
Who lie on a high cliff until your elbow ache,
To see the sun come up over Penobscot Bay.

Only two

There are only two poets that have wooed me.  Millay is one and Whitman is the other (click on the first image of the Camino plaque – Song of the Open Road).


Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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