A couple of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay… from Hunstman, What Quarry?

 

These have been part of my personal favorites for years and years. As a young girl I found them a grand excuse to wallow when immersed in a breakup with a boyfriend. As years and experience have changed my view, I find they still speak for me and comfort me in times of hurt.  Added to the site Spring 2003

 

Theme and Variations, #’s II & V

 


II

Heart, do not bruise the breast
That sheltered you so long;
Beat quietly, strange guest.

Or have I done you wrong
to feed you life so fast?
Why, no; digest this food
And thrive. You could outlast
Discomfort if you would.

You do not know for whom
These tears drip through my hands.
You thud in the bright room
Darkly. This pain demands
No action on your part,
Who never saw that face.

These eyes, that let him in,
(Not you, my guiltless heart)
These eyes, let them erase
His image, blot him out
With weeping, and go blind.

Heart, do not stain my skin
With bruises; go about
Your simple function. Mind,
Sleep now; do not intrude;
And do not spy; be kind.

Sweet blindness, now begin
.



V

I had not thought so tame a thing
Could deal me this bold suffering.

I have loved badly, loved the great
Too soon, withdrawn my words too late;
And eaten in an echoing hall
Alone and from a chipped plate
The words that I withdrew too late.
Yet even so, when I recall
How ardently, ah! and to whom
Such praise was given, I am not sad:
The very rafters of this room
Are honoured by the guests it had.

You only, being unworthy quite
And specious,--never, as I think,
Having noticed how the gentry drink
Their poison, how administer
Silence to those they would inter--
Have brought me to dimentia's brink.
Not that this blow be dealt to me:
But by thick hands, and clumsily.