Spring

A reader reminded me that spring has just begun, and that in turn reminded me of a peculiar poem I’ve always liked, by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), whose poetry is wildly erratic. This is Edna St. Vincent Millay at her best:

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 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.

(Link)

5 Comments

  • Dale

    March 20, 2011

    I thought it best when read (again) at a fast pace.
    Was Edna astute to observe the brains of men are eaten by maggots above ground as well?

  • Nick

    March 20, 2011

    I used to live near one of her old residences. It was my favorite apartment in the Village. It’s 8.5 feet wide.

  • Dale

    March 20, 2011

    Thanks for sharing a treasured memory without including the “as opposed to”.

  • Nick

    March 21, 2011

    No problem. I just want everyone to realize the unique value of banging your elbows into the walls every time you turn around.

  • Maura

    March 21, 2011

    I was just looking up her works this morning when I happened upon your post this afternoon – she has some of the most amazing poetry and was quite a strong woman for the times. Of course, some of my favorite quotes always center around her torturous love affairs and the work that came from that time. Thanks!

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