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Poem for National Poetry Month

Yes, it's almost over, and I never posted a single poem. So here's a philosophical bit plus a much feistier one:


On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood;
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare;
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
Today the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

– A.E. Housman (from A Shropshire Lad)

Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
Give me back my book and take my kiss instead.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard,
“What a big book for such a little head!”
Come, I will show you now my newest hat,
And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!
Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
I never again shall tell you what I think.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly;
You will not catch me reading any more:
I shall be called a wife to pattern by;
And some day when you knock and push the door,
Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay (from The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems)

* * * * * * * * *

I always hear that last bit in a sort of triumphant hiss: " - and you may whistle for me!"




( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
Edna St. Vincent Millay!
Apr. 28th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)

Yes! I got into her comparatively recently ... I like some of her sad ones too, but the long artsy ones are just a little too much.

Apr. 25th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
I love the second one. Hell hath no fury like an intelligent wife whose mind has been scorned!
Apr. 28th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)

Millay can be beautifully snarky at times!

Apr. 28th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
At her snarkiest she reminds me of Dorothy Parker, albeit without the edge of self-mockery that's often running through Parker's lovely snark.

(And looking at the Housman again, I find myself wondering if it might have been a dim influence on a favorite Shriekback song that I cannot seem to find streamable online in any of the usual spots, phooey!

...that used to be a warehouse then
And this was all bombed in the war
And here the last wild boar was slain
And there my father met my ma
This was the place where I was born
And in the sixties this was hip
And right through here the Romans came
And this was where it all began...
Apr. 25th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
*smirks* that second one is MADE of love!
Apr. 28th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)

Millay was capable of some real zingers ... even at her own expense:


Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?

Apr. 26th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.

How did I miss this one? It's brilliant.
Apr. 28th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)

I love snarky Millay! (I sometimes like sad or wistful or lovesick Millay too, but she seems really her when she's being terse and witty.)

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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