Friday, December 5, 2008

Edna St. Vee and Me

Black Swans, Wallis Lake, 1923, Margaret Preston

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the light of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

Wild Swans
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Do you ever struggle with the beauty, purity and sense of purpose
of idealism and the complexes of reality? Edna and I are simpatico.
I'm getting out for some fresh air today, but not locking my door.
Not just yet.


  1. Hmmm... you're in THAT mood today, aren't you?

    'I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.'

    It' the mood when our senses are at their finest and sharpest when we seem to grow an extra pair of eyes with which to enjoy what we normally just see.

    Beautiful poem and I hope you have a nice walk.

    Greetings from London.

  2. I was just reading some of her poetry the other day. She is my favorite.

  3. Enjoy the fresh air, Willow. And I'm glad you're not locking your door yet. It's always good to have a place to come back to.

  4. this is such a beautiful post, a beautiful poem...our place in nature is a hard thing to reconcile for sure...inspiration can sometimes be confusing...these are times for breathing deep and living VERY in the moment i think...enjoy your day and breathe very deep...

  5. "Do you ever struggle with the beauty, purity and sense of purpose
    of idealism and the complexes of reality?"

    Constantly, it seems. Although not easy, this constant struggle sure does make life interesting!

  6. Yes, I'm on my way to Sister's Garden, a breath of fresh air for me, as sun is shining and my path is sparkling...I see beauty all the way and thankful to just be here... and maybe, just maybe, I'll see eagles soaring high over the Iowa River.
    Enjoy your walk!

  7. Do you ever struggle with the beauty, purity and sense of purpose of idealism and the complexes of reality?

    That question pretty much sums me up to a tee.

  8. Yes, I used to, but I've given it up. Thank goodness because I used to torture myself with things I couldn't do a thing about.

    It is impossible not to find peace and serenity outside if you're looking for it. Have a nice walk.

  9. I't's a cold, crisp and sunny day, I'll join you in going for a walk. Thoughtful poem.

  10. hey there! i love the layout you have!

  11. I loved Edna in high school...thanks for the trip down memory lane :)

  12. Some things are just to huge and amazing to dwell upon. I enjoy the beauty of the world and the intricacy of nature without trying to find my place and purpose but perhaps I should be... Think I'll go out for some fresh air today too. But I keep my door locked. I have a key.

  13. Really like the combinations of art and poety.

  14. Wild swans flying over ...
    happenend to me this past summer.
    I had never heard their cry before, and now I shall never forget it. It was as if a whole army was flying in, their cries were so loud, and even the movement of their wings created a memorable noise. I felt the earth move. Then they were gone.

  15. Willow! I love the Margaret Preston? image of the black swans - it is just gorgeous.

  16. Do you ever struggle with the beauty, purity and sense of purpose of idealism and the complexes of reality?

    WOW, YES .. I guess I better get outside too


  17. Great blog..!!
    Congratulation and regard being blog of note...


  18. You match your artwork to the words so well. As for Edna - I love this one:

    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.

  19. Edna SVM wrote one of the most wonderfully evocative poems ever --to my mind anyway.Called Recuerdo, I think we all know it .
    Sums up giddy young love

    E were very tired, we were very merry --
    We had gone back and forth all night upon the ferry.
    It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable --
    But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
    We lay on the hill-top underneath the moon;
    And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

    We were very tired, we were very merry --
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
    And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
    From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
    And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
    And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

    We were very tired, we were very merry,
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
    And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
    And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and the pears,
    And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

    Delete if this takes up too much space!!!

  20. Willow, beautiful post, both poem and woodblock! I drove yesterday seeing rolling hills and Eucalyptus groves and then the reality of a young mother asking for money from shoppers in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Today, I'm locking the door with myself in the studio. Thank you for such abeautiful site to visit...have a nice walk!

  21. I'm a Renascence girl myself, having become purely stricken with the beautiful of it in high school. A girl in our speech class chose it as her "piece" to perform at the Regional, and then the State Oratorical Competition.

    She was a big old country girl, of a huge family, and as she glanced around the "horizon, thin and fine"---I could SEE the division, feel the changes. It was one of those moments, those unforgettable pieces of a time which should have held mere gossip and laughter and flirting; her total immersion into that poetry and her delivery of the words to US---that's a bit of magical lagniappe I think of often.

    And I thought of it desperately hard in her later years, when her depression and the withering of her mind sent her down the street in her nightgown and bare feet, her naked bosom on display and her eyes not seeing the NOW. I have lost touch with everything in the old home town, but I hope for her a medical miracle, or that miraculous rebirth she made us see clear as day in that hot classroom.

  22. On your referral, Willow, I picked up an Edna St. Vee collection and was delighted to find the poem: "To Kathleen". I look forward to delving into it regularly. Thanks. Though I knew the name, I had never read her work.


  23. hello, this poem is fantastic. i´m from spain and i don´t know english poetry but i think is time.

    good bye, i´m sorry my horrible english.

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  25. WOW! I love the painting and poem. Took me a while to figure out what I was looking at, its very interesting.

  26. Neat blog this is my first time reading it and it seems interesting I have just started my own but yours seem fascinating keep it up.

  27. Beautiful creative thoughts.

  28. You've got great taste in literature....American Bloomsbury is a great read.

  29. Your poem and your thoughts really bring to mind for me what my purpose is here on earth and what my lesson is I am to learn. As I age, I often wonder. I always believe we find out a lot about ourselves when we take a breath and really enjoy nature and really see the beauty in it. Walking is always refreshing. I love your blog, and will return again soon.

  30. I adored Savage Beauty, but I haven't read much of Vincent's poetry. What a fascinating life, though. As well-worn as it is, I still think that the idea of "burning the candle at both ends" is one of the enduring lines/images/truths.

    Maintaining any sort of idealism (in the face of reality) is a challenge.

  31. One tall glass of bubbly for me! I would certainly agree that you are a Blog of Note! :) How very cool and well deserved! Congrats, Sis!

  32. beautiful poem!!! great blog, the brown photographs really made me think of my past and took me down the memory lane. Thank you for making me relive few of those wonderful moments of my childhood again.

    BTW, congrats for being the blog of note. Good choice by blogger :)

  33. As a former literature teacher and a confirmed lover of poetry, I am delighted to find that the Blog of Note is also one that appreciates poetry. Very glad to meet you! Ciao!

  34. Congratulations, Willow! I just saw that you're listed under "Blogs of Note". I'm really pleased for you - the work you put into this wonderful blog SHOULD be recognized.

    Way to go!


  35. As I was making a post on my blog...I caught you on "Blog of Note"...glad I did. I took a nice walk outside today to gather greenery and found much reality to be grateful for!! We are made to be in nature and notice it! :)

  36. Hi,

    Thanks for the great blog and great post. I appreciate your commentary and features on art and poetry. I found your site through the Blogger spotlight on the main web page.

    I had picked up a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay at an airport in...London? I had no idea who she was, but the text called to me...and now I'm more intrigued than ever to read more of her work.



  37. Great Blog Keep It Congrs For The Blog Of the Note Blogging in Web 2.0 Beta

  38. Way too too cool! Congrats, Willow. Well done, daaaaaling!
    The poem and thoughts are very self analysis
    The Bach

  39. Willow! Congratulations on your Blog of Note! It is and always has been! Fantastic!

  40. Just found out about your blogging accolade - it is so deserved, Willow. well done x

  41. Go for it, let the wild wind roar through your ears and blow away the cobwebs...

  42. Beautiful poem and I hope you enjoyed your walk.


  44. Very fine. very poetic. pilo

  45. this is a beautifully layed out blog!!

  46. Blog of note. I envy u. Congrats.

  47. Beautiful black swans! I think we can clearly see the transition from Art Nouveau to Deco on that work.

  48. your blog and photos are so nice
    you can visit me at:

  49. How much fun to be a Blog of Noteworthiness!

  50. Greetings from Texas. I must agree with steviewren. As a child of the 60s and 70s, the struggle of my own idealism vs. reality is what kept me in therapy for years. It is only upon stepping back, just outside one's self, that the inherent absurdity of life can be brought into focus. Acceptance, not resignation, has allowed me to achieve genuine joy and happiness, both of which are simply choices.

    Thanks for letting me visit the manor. If you have a sec, stop by Casa Fry and see how the other half lives. I have more fun than anybody!

  51. Very cool! I love you.
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  52. There is something about big wild birds, particularly visitors who don't stay all year but who come and go, that touches ones inner core.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

    Wild Geese
    by Mary Oliver

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

  55. Ah, today wild thoughts took my mind.... Poems are so refreshing at times. Read aloud they come alive. Pappy

  56. Just wanted to say I too love Edna. I love spending time in my garden, and walking in the early morning. JOY - that is what we are all looking for. So lovely when we find it.

  57. Thanks for logging on to your blog.

  58. Thanks for logging on to your blog.

  59. I do like your blog. The "old" look, the color choice, the meanderings. It appears that you are an old soul with lots of sensitivity to your world. And best of all, you have become aware of the tiny things that make you very happy - wondering in an old book store, concocting in the kitchen. I did enjoy reading this.

  60. I like your 'Manor' very much. Just started really reading 'Edna St. Vee'; thank you for introducing me to that poem (I am partial to poems about swans). Love the woodcut you chose to illustrate it with, too. Does that have a story?


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)