Poetry Sunday: Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay

And so April has come again. I suspect most of us feel quite positive about that. April seems to betoken new beginnings. Nature itself seems optimistic as she shows us "the redness of little leaves opening stickily." 

Edna St. Vincent Millay felt quite dour about the month, however, as evidenced by her poem "Spring." It is not enough, she says, that "April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers." I beg to differ, Edna. I think it is quite enough.  

Spring

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

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,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Comments

  1. My favorite poet! And I love this one, especially the image of April babbling down the hill tossing flowers right and left, like an idiot!

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    Replies
    1. That is a remarkably evocative image, isn't it?

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  2. My word, Edna, you have a much gloomier outlook on April than I have. I am embracing the changes it brings.

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    Replies
    1. As am I. Edna does seem a bit a of a gloomy Gus.

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  3. I don't think Edna liked April very much... but as someone who lives in tornado alley... I tend to always dread April and May because the chance of scary weather.

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    Replies
    1. April can bring not only showers but, as you suggest, some scary weather. Even so, I think it is a month that many of us look forward to.

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  4. I think back to the several years I lived in Northwest Arkansas. It was a mixture of the promise of spring, especially when the redbuds bloomed, mixed with the occasional terror of severe weather. But I still looked forward to spring, and all those flowers. I could see myself running down a hill, tossing flowers here and there and yelling, but in joy.

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    Replies
    1. I find it a joyful month for many reasons, not least of which is that it contains my younger daughter's birthday so it always reminds me of a very happy time in my life.

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