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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Willfully Appearing


“Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry; let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay.


St. Vincent Millay, born on Feb. 22, 1892, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry – only the third woman to win the award in that category – in 1923.  And just to show that she wasn’t a “one hit wonder,” she won the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry 20 years later.  In between, she wrote many, many great poems and earned the accolade from fellow poet Richard Wilbur that “She wrote some of the best sonnets of the century.”


Millay also wrote plays and prose and once said, “A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.  If it is a good book nothing can hurt him.  If it is a bad book nothing can help him.”  Hers were good, and her poetry was even better.   For Saturday’s Poem, here is St. Vincent Millay’s


Afternoon on a hill


I will be the gladdest thing
   Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
   And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
   With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
   And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
   Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
   And then start down.

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