Edna St. Vincent Millay vs. Early to bed

Millay candle, drips

This is the last day of National Poetry Month. It’s been great to read a different poet daily for the last nine days. Going forward, I plan to continue getting my recommended daily allowance of poetry.

Today, as I dipped into a collection of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, I remembered the well-known poem that describes my usual modus operandi:

“My candle burns at both ends,
It will not last the night.
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light.”

Then there is the famous saying, “Early to bed and early to rise…”

Years back, I sang in a choir that performed two pithy pieces by Norman Luboff. His amusing collection, “Much More Ado About Nothings,” includes his take on the “Early to bed” proverb.

Luboff’s version goes:

“Early to bed, early to rise,
makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,
and dull,
and a terrible bore.”

Ouch. More like Millay’s point, actually.

Still, tonight, I’m opting for an early night and dullness. More lively brilliance to come next week!


April Is the POEM Month

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower-2Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo

I have this… umm… This…well, let’s call it my little problem. Books. Sometimes, despite great intentions, books can derail me. My younger sister knows to grab a good hold of me, in order not to lose me, when we pass by libraries, Friends’ bookstores, or those enticing carts set outside secondhand bookstores. You know the ones I mean?


Today I met with writing buddies at a library I seldom frequent. I was going to be GOOD. Write only. Not look at books, oh, no. Especially as last time I checked out a book there, it took some doing to return it without fines.


But… April is National Poetry Month. Did you know? If I had, I’d forgotten. The library had a table displaying poetry anthologies as well as works by solo poets. Glancing down on my way in, I thought, Oh, yes, I’ve always meant to read Beowulf. Someday. And more of T. S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Tennyson and Christina Rossetti… But not now, I don’t have time. Someday.


I greeted my friends, opened my laptop, took a swig of water, and began the bit of journaling with which I sometimes ease into writing proper. I noted things I needed to do afterwards, including something Writerly as part of my 100 Day focus. Like read some Shakespeare, or more poetry. POETRY!


Ray Bradbury, among others, whetted my appetite for more poetry in my life when I read his Zen in the Art of Writing:

Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand.”
So, there it was. Someday could be Today. I would read lots of poetry this National Poetry Month. Or, anyway, in the ten days left this April. Maybe even a different poet each day, half an hour’s worth.


I left my friends, went back to the poetry table, and gathered up a good stack of books. Tiptoeing to my chair, I set down my finds unobtrusively. My friends noticed anyway and laughed. “Busted!”


This evening, I began with poems by Dylan Thomas, because the cadence of his The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” echoed in my mind, from all the way back in my English major. I read some of his poems, then listened to Thomas himself read others.


What poet do you want to read more of soon?