Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Maine Poet Profiled


Another Maine Poet has been chosen by one of my poem-a-day sites! The smart people at Knopf Poetry chose Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Spring" as their poem for April 7th. Millay is one of my all-time favorite poets. I love "First Fig" the best, but "Renassance" is another favorite. Here is "Spring":

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 the 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.

This poem reminds me of Macbeth's soliloquy after he learns that Lady Macbeth has died. When I read this though, I love that Millay does not rely on typical spring-ish images and feelings. Maine winters are rough and spring does not come gently. The earth tends to look as though it's survived an assault of some sort and vegetation has to thrust itself out from piles of decay. Millay's poetry is not flowery, even when she's talking about spring. And I like that.

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