Online Hair Booking

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

The first time I heard of the name of this American poet was from a lecture by Christopher Hitchens.

He was a guest speaker at PEN AMERICA with Salman Rushdie, commemorating the legacy of Arthur Miller.

He was quoting 'Conscientious Objector', with regards to the threat we face in the 21st century, i.e. Islamic Jihadist.

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

I was immediately besotted by this and since then, she becomes one of my favourite poets.

There are so many great works in this collection and it's very difficult to pick the best one.

Here, I'd like to quote probably her best known poem, 'First Fig'.

It's a very short and simple one, but, I see an immense beauty in this poem.
It always reminds me of Japanese Haiku poems.

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

No comments: