Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My Favorite Poem

I don't remember how I stumbled on this poem about five years back -- maybe on a calendar? -- but it has been my favorite poem ever since. I'm not the kind of person who sits around steeped in poetry either, but, as I hope you will agree, this poem makes me smirk knowingly. It has an understated wit about it, to me, that shows what an art there can be to writing. This poem makes all those treacly, hyper-rhyming poems you get forwarded on e-mail run and hide their blushing cheeks, because this is the real thing.

But enough geekiness. I have been waiting for a while to post this poem, since it talks about April. So enjoy!


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

See what I mean? Hope you enjoyed. If you want to see more from Edna St. Vincent Millay, or other poets, I have found a wonderful database of poetry. If you want to go poke around, it's at

To build on the sentiment from the I.O.'s post below, poetry is just a wonderful antidote to all the humdrum Disney/Nickelodeon/Barney garden-variety kiddie rhyming our parent-heads get pounded with daily. Those Backyardigan writers, while talented enough, have to churn out about three new rhyming songs per episode, and they are exhausted. You can hear it. Today I had to listen to Barney sing some song about dancing on a bridge in Avignon, and if that wasn't bad enough, the verses alternated English and French! I tell you, that -- Barney. Singing. In French. -- will make anyone run for the hills...or for Edna St. Vincent Millay, where said hills are overrun with flowers, now that April has come and strewn them "like an idiot, babbling." A breath of fresh air.


Blogger The Irreverent One said...

Cool site- I found my favorite "get off my back about going to church" poem on there after having thought of it many times since I first read it in college. It's Emily Dickinson's "Some Keep the Sabbath..."

so yeah- thanks for helping me re-find my defense against the "missionaries" I'm related to! (and No, you're not one of them!)

4/20/2006 1:27 PM  

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