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As my time at college was coming to a close, I read the work by various poets and found myself (a little bit every day) either scribbling something for a poem or thinking of the words I’d use for one. I haven’t written a whole lot of poetry since spring last year, probably because I’ve been so caught up with my novel, and I’ve had a blast getting back into it. I got a new one I’m going to send to my ol’ poetry professor and see what he thinks. Recently I also signed up for the open mic night at Kaya Coffee House, where I read ten of my poems. First poetry reading ever. It was a little nerve-wrecking before I walked up there, but it wasn’t too bad at all. Some of the audience knew about the snapping rule, which was neat. I hope they have this kind of open-mic poetry-reading stuff going in the metro-Detroit area, because I want to do it again.

Me at Kaya on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Me at Kaya on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

One of the poets I was “getting to know” during my last month at Central was Edna St. Vincent Millay. First of all, what a bad-ass name, and second, her poetry is awesome. I checked out The Harp-Weaver & other poems from the library and today I want to share one poem that stood out to me (I found it inspiring).

I know I am but summer to your heart,

And not the full four seasons of the year;

And you must welcome from another part

Such noble moods as are not mine, my dear.

No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell

Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing;

And I have loved you all too long and well

To carry still the high sweet breast of Spring.

Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes,

I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums,

That you may hail anew the bird and rose

When I come back to you, as summer comes.

Else will you seek, at some not distant time,

Even your summer in another time.

**

 

Perhaps I shouldn’t start Poetry Tuesday back up with such a sad poem… oh well. It seems suitable considering summer is upon us and that only a few days ago, I witnessed so many goodbyes between couples. Long hugs, kisses, and well-meant but empty promises. Most of them clearly don’t realize that summer breaks are huge chunks of time; a long-distance relationship is even harder if one or both of you are graduating. The bag of stress that brings may be one of the reasons behind summer romances; all you have is a burst of fireworks for a couple of months. Then you carry on with some good memories, returning to Singleton Ville.

Now “summer” here is rather a metaphor, of course. It stands for a short-lived love affair between two people. The speaker knows this: “And you must welcome from another part/ such noble moods as are not mine,” which means that she knows she won’t be the last woman in their life.

The most tear-jerking part (for me at least) is when she says that she’s going to dump her lover before they do that to her, because a broken heart would be too much.

Here’s how I made that conclusion:

* “I have loved you all too long and well/ to carry still the high sweet breast of spring

… meaning, ‘this affair has gone on for too long and if I let this continue, I will be too broken-hearted to allow myself fall in love again once we go separate ways.’

* ‘Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes/ I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums.’

… meaning, ‘I’m saying goodbye and walking away with my head held high.’

The poem then goes on to say that she figures that her lover will move on with someone new after this. However, even though she appears to have come to terms with that, there’s a quiet despair in the tone. In truth, she wants this fling to be something more. Should they meet again, she asks her lover to consider to “seek […] even your summer in another time” so that it can last forever instead.

Now there’s one part I’m not sure about:

No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell

Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing;

It could mean that she has nothing left to offer her lover in a sensual sense. The passion is running out so instead of ‘golden fruits,’ she now craves a stable relationship, which may seem stale and old to her lover in comparison.

Let me know what you guys think.

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