Jan 18 – A Poet More People Should Remember – Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (photo @ lgbthistorymonth.com)

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) was an American lyrical poet and playwright. Millay was a renowned social figure and noted feminist in New York City during the Roaring Twenties and beyond. She wrote much of her prose and hackwork verse under the pseudonym Nancy Boyd.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_St._Vincent_Millay

Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet (1923), feminist bisexual socialist, Vincent (as she called herself) was dismissed later in life for her use of traditional poetic forms.

She died after years of suffering and morphine use due to a car accident and finally falling down her stairs at home from a broken neck and the heart attack immediately preceding it.

One of her earlier poems seems fitting here: 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 and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—

They are gone.  They are 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.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Dirge Without Music” from Collected Poems © 1928, 1955 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with permission of Elizabeth Barnett and Holly Peppe, Literary Executors, The Millay Society. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52773/dirge-without-music#


4 thoughts on “Jan 18 – A Poet More People Should Remember – Edna St. Vincent Millay

    1. Patrick Cole Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Ana. I’d be interested in a research reference if you have one. Otherwise, I can check with Uncle Google. May you be well, especially your brain and may your loving and moral sensibilities always remain. _/\_

      Liked by 1 person


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