In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would send some inspiration your way with a poem from, in my opinon, one of the most underrated poets of the 20th century. A whip-smart, firecracker of a woman, Millay used the natural surroundings of her childhood and adult life to produce raw lyric poetry about the rocky beaches, brutal seasons, and social scene of New England. After reading her works, it is not hard to believe that she was the first woman to receive a Pulitzer prize for poetry.
Memory of Cape Cod
The wind in the ash tree sounds like surf on the shore at Truro.
I will shut my eyes . . . hush, be still your silly bleating,
sheep on Shillingstone Hill . . .
They said: Come along! They said: Leave your pebbles on the sand and come
along, it’s long after sunset!
The mosquitoes will be thick in the pine-woods along by Long Nook, the wind’s
They said: Leave your pebbles on the sand, and your shells,too, and come along,
we’ll find you another beach like the beach at Truro.
Listen to the wind in the ash . . . it sounds like surf on the shore.
If you would like to read more about this fascinating woman, look for Nancy Milford’s biography, Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which can be found in the O.D.Y. Library and the Brewer Bookstore.