Thursday, December 29, 2005

Who hurt you so,
My dear?
Who, long ago
When you were very young,
Did, said, became, was...something that you did not know
Beauty could ever do, say, be, become?--
So that your brown eyes filled
With tears they never, not to this day, have shed...
Not because one more boy stood hurt by life,
No: because something deathless had dropped dead--
An ugly, an indecent thing to do--
So that you stood and stared, with open mouth in which the
Froze slowly backward toward its root,
As if it would not speak again, too badly stung
By memories thick as wasps about a nest invaded
To know if or if not you suffered pain.

-Edna St Vincent Millay

Thought of this after happening upon a couple posts regarding the politicising of trauma of living through something horrible. Is a major subject for me for a number of reasons, so have been following it with some interest for a while.


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

"Too badly stung/...To know if or if not you suffered pain." Millay always has a sting in the tails of her poems. Hey, I'm looking forward to April!

Be said...

If I can get through January, I will be happy.

Possibly my favorite arrangement of words ever is her final verse in Renascence:

"The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,-
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose sould is flat--the sky
Will cave in on him by and by."