Here in a Rocky Cup

Today is Earth Day! Make sure you get out and enjoy Spring a little bit today. It’s been warm here in the evenings, but I think today is supposed to be rainy. Maybe we can at least open the windows and enjoy the breeze later.

 

Here in a Rocky Cup

 

Here in a rocky cup of earth

The simple acorn brought to birth

What ages grown to be

A very oak, a mighty tree.

The granite of the rock is split

And crumbled by the girth of it.

 

In cautious was the rock to feed

The acorn’s mouth; unwise indeed

Am I, upon whose stony heart

Fell softly down, sits quietly,

The seed of love’s imperial tree

That soon may force my breast apart.

 

“I fear you not. I have no doubt

My meagre soil shall starve you out!”

 

Unless indeed you prove to be

The kernel of a kingly tree;

 

Which if you be I am content

To go the way the granite went,

And be myself no more at all,

So you but prosper and grow tall.

 

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tavern

This poem is dear to my heart because the hubby and I have a fantasy to open a bar someday. We even have a name picked out. We both love craft beer, and are always looking for “our place” to hang out. Our last “our place” closed down several months ago, and we were pretty upset about it. Since then, nothing has felt just right.

If we had a barkeep like the one in this poem, we might just call it “our place.” This guy gets it.

 

Tavern

 

I’ll keep a little tavern

Below the high hill’s crest

Wherein all grey-eyed people

May sit them down and rest.

 

There shall be plates a-plenty,

And mugs to melt the chill

Of all the grey-eyed people

Who happen up the hill.

 

There sound will sleep the traveller,

And dream his journey’s end,

But I will rouse at midnight

The falling fire to tend.

 

Aye, ’tis a curious fancy–

But all the good I know

Was taught me out of two grey eyes

A long time ago.

 

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems

 

Huntsman, What Quarry?

I was raised on Disney princesses in the 90s. The ballgowns, princes, and you better believe I have every single song memorized. (Of course the villains were always my favorite…but I was a rebel. I mean, come on, can you get a better song than Be Prepared?)

There’s been a movement in the more recent years not to raise girls on princesses. And I get it–we don’t want our little girls to be reliant on a man, to believe in being whisked off our feet and that’s all it takes to be Happy Ever After. Because that’s not real life. That’s why Frozen is so popular, because the men aren’t the reason for strength. Sure there is a handsome prince, but he’s the villain in the end (spoiler alert…but come on…who HASN’T seen Frozen BY NOW), and even Kristoff doesn’t get true love’s kiss. Ugh. My love for Disney hurt after that one.

I got a kick out of this poem because Millay just GOT IT. She spat all over Happily Ever After. Men are just way too distracted creatures for all that.

Huntsman, What Quarry?

“Huntsman, what quarry
On the dry hill
Do your hounds harry?
When the red oak is bare
And the white oak still
Rattles its leaves
In the cold air:
What fox runs there?”
“Girl, gathering acorns
In the cold autumn,
I hunt the hot pads
That ever run before,
I hunt the pointed mask
That makes no reply,
I hunt the red brush
Of remembered joy.”
“To tame or to destroy?”
“To destroy.”
“Huntsman, hard by
In a wood of grey beeches
Whose leave are on the ground,
Is a house with a fire;
You can see the smoke from here.
There’s supper and a soft bed
And not a soul around.
Come with me there;
Bide there with me;
And let the fox run free.”
The horse that he rode on
Reached down its neck,
Blew upon the acorns,
Nuzzled them aside;
The sun was near setting;
He thought, “Shall I heed her?”
He thought, “Shall I take her
For a one-night’s bride?”
He smelled the sweet smoke,
He looked the lady over;
Her hand was on his knee;
But like a flame from cover
The red fox broke–
And “Hoick! Hoick!”cried he.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Dirge Without Music

We have lost many a talented artist this year. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a world without their creativity. Just this week, we have lost Mickey Rooney and John Pinette. And those are only the famous deaths that everyone knows. Somewhere out there, there are people grieving over losses that only a few know about. Beauty snuffed out. I read this poem the other day and it almost made me weep. Millay portrays grief so perfectly.

 

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 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, Completed Poems

 

 

National Poetry Month

Because April is National Poetry Month, I think it’s only appropriate that we kick things off with a little bit of a literary push, don’t you? So every day this month I will seek out and post a poem. It may be long, it may be short. And after April, I may continue to post a poem every once in awhile when it strikes my fancy.

I’ve been reading Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Collected Poems for a week or so–there are a LOT! I’m about a quarter of the way through them so far, and I came across this one today. It made me laugh, because it’s just SO TRUE, isn’t it?

Grown-Up

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?

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems

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If you have a favorite poet, please send him or her my way. I’m always looking for someone new to read.