I love Edna St. Vincent Millay. The first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, she has a powerful, lyric voice, one that is heavy with emotion and depth and something that just cuts me to the core.
None of her poems strike me quite as powerfully as this sonnet, however:
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, — so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!
It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It’s so incredibly powerful. When I’m writing, I read Millay’s poems often…I’m always trying to figure out how she takes 100 words to rouse the same amount of feeling that it takes me 90,000 words to rouse. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully understand it…