Poetry Friday: Sometimes only Edna will do

h1 March 14th, 2008 by eisha

EdnaFor the past couple of days I’ve been fighting off a raging blue funk. No particular reason, really – just a combination of seasonal affective disorder, travel fatigue, the endless grind of the job search, politics, world events, Dreamweaver 8, and… okay, fine, I’ll say it: PMS.

Blah. Blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Whatever.

Times like this, I gotta call in the big guns. Plath? No, did that already. Lowell? Nope, him too. Sexton? Meh. Millay?

Millay… Yeah, that’s it. When it comes to blue funks, Edna St. Vincent Millay knows how to throw down. Here’s “Spring”, a perfect little jewel of a downer poem:

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?

Ahhh… Nothing like a little Edna to make me feel like I’m in good company. But you really have to read the rest of the poem. The last line is the best.

*edited to add…*

Jama’s hosting the round-up today at Alphabet Soup. AND she’s got a contest going for anyone posting about Bob Dylan lyrics. So, here’s a couple verses from one of my favorites, “Song to Woody.” Thanks, Jama!

I’m out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin’ a road other men have gone down.
I’m seein’ your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
‘Bout a funny ol’ world that’s a-comin’ along.
Seems sick an’ it’s hungry, it’s tired an’ it’s torn,
It looks like it’s a-dyin’ an’ it’s hardly been born.

22 comments to “Poetry Friday: Sometimes only Edna will do”

  1. It’s world events that are doing it – Obama and Clinton might be fine continuing with this primary but I think it will suck the life out of the rest of us. I’m so tired of everyone being so…so…mean!

    It sounds pitiful, I know but it’s all rather soul sucking and I want it just to be over!!!


  2. Interesting that this is her first free verse poem, according to the bio at the Poetry Foundation.

    And later in that bio, there is this: “Her directness came to seem old-fashioned as the intellectual poetry of international Modernism came into vogue.”

    Her directness absolutely makes this poem. Makes it. Brutal honesty is about the only thing Blue Funks are afraid of.

  3. Sorry to hear about the blue funk, E. I agree with Sara that Edna’s directness really gives the poem its power. Wow! How could that ever become old fashioned?

    I think “Song to Woody” was Dylan’s first original song — the beginning of genius. I like its innocence.

  4. e, i wish you were my neighbor and could come over for coffee and we could fight off the blue funks with, i dunno, laughing at some stupid thing or dancing around to “graceland” (and, hey, if we did that, sara would HAVE to join us) or watching, say, “Raising Arizona.” that’d be fun.

    and what a beautiful poem.

  5. Eisha,

    One great thing about getting old is not having to deal with PMS any longer! I’m in a semi-funk because of a respiratory/sinus infection that seems to want to take up permanent residence in my body. I’ve also had a muscle spasm in my neck and shoulder because of my posture when sitting–for endless hours–at the computer. Now I have to go to physical therapy twice a week.

    I hope you’ll be feeling better soon–and find the job of your dreams.

    P.S. That’s quite a poem by Millay.

  6. One of my favorites, Eisha! I hope the blue funk passes soon. (I agree, it’s a difficult time.)

  7. That is one bad blue funk! You definitely need som strong Dylan. Hope it passes soon.

  8. Ah, yes. Dear Edna. I *almost* posted this one today, it is indeed my FAVORITE Edna poem, and I have a friend who emails it to me the first of April every year.

    I think we’re mentally in the same place, the Seasonal thingy is getting to me, too, but instead of Dylan, I keep humming Here comes the sun… it’s all right… It’s better than the Annie song, and the sun IS coming back…

    Feel better, bud.

  9. Aw, thanks, guys. I feel better already.

  10. I love the line, “I know what I know.”

    Yes, indeed.

    Our NYS politics are particularly horrifying at the moment, although thank goodness they seem to be moving along with things. I was worried Spitzer might not step down and that we’d have months and months of loud public nastiness ahead of us instead of state business that needs taking care of.

    You know the situation is pretty bad, incidentally, since I’m aware of it.

  11. Eisha, I’m sorry you’re in a funk. I hope the poetry helped. Sometimes, knowing someone else feels–or felt–the same way helps. I totally get being in a funk! And that was such strong writing, that first poem. Thanks for sharing.

  12. You can no longer quiet me with redness. Do I LOVE that, or what????? Hope things lift for you soon, Eisha….

  13. I LOVE that you brought up the illustrious Bobby D. Just this week, I started entitling all of my blog entries with Bob Dylan lyrics. Someone HAS heard of the man, yay!

  14. YOWSAH! Never crossed paths this with poem until today, but we are new best friends. I’ll save it for my next black mood or blue funk. Not sure I could ever top this. Good reminder.

  15. Eisha, I hop you’re gettin’ over the Blue Funk. Here is an old cure:

    1. 1 TBSP. “Hey, Ya!”
    2. 3 tsp. “Rose in Spanish Harlem,” as sung by Aretha
    3. 2 pinches “Love Shack”

    Taken one at a time while dancing around the living room should help.

  16. That should be “hope,” not “hop.” Though hopping might work, too.

  17. Howzabout two-tone funk?

  18. …video here

  19. These are some excellent musical suggestions. And LW, that video is awesome! Thanks for the link!

  20. Yeah, really, I want Susan to make me a mix now.

    And I really dug that funk, too, that LW sent.

  21. I’m very glad to see a post on one of my favourite poets. I’ve liked Millay for a long time. I particularly love her poem ‘First Fig’-

    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!

    Thanks for reminding me about her- I’ll go and dig up some Edna poetry now 🙂
    Cheers. Great blog.

  22. Love the leaves opening stickily!

    Thanks for sharing.

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