Poetic Spotlight: Journey

Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, image care of Wikimedia Commons.

Travel! It’s the theme of the week don’t you know? Our poetic spotlight of the week certainly isn’t breaking that tradition, with the wonderful Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Journey.” Millay embodies one of those figures many people like to think of when they think of poets – wondrously lyrical, passionate in her views, and known as much for love affairs as poetry (the woman liked to love – and it’s a theme easy to spot in a number of her works). This American poet, playwright, and activist from the first half of the 20th century was an honored winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and a must read for any soul with a poet’s heart.

So without further delay, I offer you one of her works:

“Ah, could I lay me down in this long grass
And close my eyes, and let the quiet wind
Blow over me—I am so tired, so tired
Of passing pleasant places! All my life,
Following Care along the dusty road,
Have I looked back at loveliness and sighed;
Yet at my hand an unrelenting hand
Tugged ever, and I passed. All my life long
Over my shoulder have I looked at peace;
And now I fain would lie in this long grass
And close my eyes.
Yet onward!
Cat birds call
Through the long afternoon, and creeks at dusk
Are guttural. Whip-poor-wills wake and cry,
Drawing the twilight close about their throats.
Only my heart makes answer. Eager vines
Go up the rocks and wait; flushed apple-trees
Pause in their dance and break the ring for me;
And bayberry, that through sweet bevies thread
Of round-faced roses, pink and petulant,
Look back and beckon ere they disappear.
Only my heart, only my heart responds.
Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day,—sharp underfoot
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs—
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

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