Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17 : Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay

One of my favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, held on to her idealism while also calling attention to the world around her. She managed to do it all while also giving space to her more personal (read: intimate/romantic) work - without apologies.

Millay's poem is one of multiple options of today's Poem in Your Pocket pieces. That's right! April 17th is Poem in Your Pocket day - finally letting you smile with mischief when some says is that a poem in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
Sick of the city, wanting the sea;
Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
Of the strong wind and shattered spray,
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
Of the big surf that breaks all day.

Always before about my dooryard,
Marking the reach of the winter sea,
Rooted in sand and dragging driftwood,
Straggled the purple wild sweet pea.
Always I climbed the wave at morning,
Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
That now am caught beneath big buildings,
Stricken with noise, confused with light.

If I could hear the green piles groaning.
Under the windy, wooden piers,
See once again the bobbing barrels,
And the black sticks that fence the weirs;
If I could see the weedy mussels
Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
Hear once again the hungry crying
Overhead, of the wheeling gulls;

Feel once again the shanty straining
Under the turning of the tide,
Fear once again the rising freshet,
Dread the bell in the fog outside,
I should be happy!—that was happy
All day long on the coast of Maine.
I have a need to hold and handle
Shells and anchors and ships again.

I should be happy, that am happy.
Never at all since I came here.
I am too long away from water;
I have a need of water near.

No comments: