When You’re Not Edna St. Vincent Millay

I’ve been at a loss for words the past two years. Besides my anger over still recovering from breaking my body tripping over a Lego, I’m angry and fearful over my government. The government that holds my country together. That complicated and beautiful woven tapestry of words and beliefs and hopes called our Constitution.

Sometimes you try cheering me up. But nothing cheers me up. I feel really devastated . I’m not a party person. I’m the best person for the job sort of person.

I’m just so pissed off. So pissed off. Do men cry when they are pissed off? Women do. I’m just so pissed off and scared. I really don’t handle not knowing very well.

So, I’m hoping that this will all be over by Monday and that impeachment hearings will begin  and life can continue as it was two years ago.   Sometimes magical thinking s a good thing.  Was life really better two years ago?  Really, I don’t remember.  It felt better.


My Mother…

My mother has passed. She was 89 years old. I believe that the most important thing she ever did for me was to introduce me, before my teen years, to the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I spent a few years imitating Millay – writing poems of death and betrayal and self-judgement. My mother is also the character Sissy in my Sissy and Buck/Buck and Sissy flash fiction.

Since I’m unable to travel, I’ve asked my youngest sister to read this for me at my mother’s funeral.

The Courage That My Mother Had (by Edna St Vincent Millay)

The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in a granite hill.

The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it is something I could spare.

Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave!-
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay


Anticipation – A Sonnet

Here’s a sonnet I’m submitting for  Literary Lion’s word of the week.  The word is ‘eye‘.  Please do click the link for other entries.

(Since I’m just finishing up a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, I thought I’d share another sonnet I’ve written.   I’m also coloring in an owl coloring book for adults.  So…lucky you 😛 )


Three owls in a tree one evening last Spring
cooing, to the Jasmine flapping, their wings
all a flutter with scents and sensing love.
My little mask eyed one  lifts me above!
All efforts effortless this starry May
become against the sapphire night’s skyway.
One owl, seemingly wiser than the rest
took a moment – perched on the branch – to rest
and catch her breath.  She looked beyond that night
while far away a full moon shining bright
spoke to her; its words echoed majestic
all that was possible – all fantastic.
Three owls roosting in a bare tree that night
were seen embracing
just before their flight.


Back and Up Ramblings

We’re back and settling in after our escape to the Pescadero/Half Moon Bay area – about an hour from home, but a totally different world.  Everything was even more beautiful than we’d imagined…and more peaceful and quiet save the birds and crickets making beautiful  music.  When we were at the cottage, we remained fairly silent and had lovely quiet time – no music – no sounds other than nature’s.  I’m so glad to know that there is this place so nearby.  I would like to escape there alone – for at least two weeks – to see what I can come away with.

Words won’t describe the trip.  Here are a few photographs David took.ellespeth in half moon bayAn afternoon in Half Moon Bay.

lavender fields in pescadero gardenLavender fields seen from the guest cottage in Pescadero.  That redwood tree looked ancient with it’s sooo wide canopy.

side garden pescaderoSide garden off the guest cottage porch.

bunch roses in pescaderoDavid loved those bunch roses way in the back of the garden – just before the overgrazed hill.

We met the gardener!  He must work other jobs in the area, and would arrive late afternoons to do a bit of taking care.  What a beautiful act of love this is!


Alas, sooner or later, one must (usually) return from a vacation.  And so, here I am.  Here’s what I’m currently reading:

The Constitution of the United States

The Declaration of Independence

The Articles of Confederation

The first chapter to Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.  (I finished this pre-publication chapter release this afternoon…I can’t wait to read the entire novel.  I hope she’ll write an autobiography.  Maybe she already has it written.  Did you know she grew up living next door to Truman Capote?  Those small Southern towns have given us some great writers!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – by Stephen King (I’m really liking this book and will finish it this weekend.)

Savage Beauty – a biography about Edna St. Vincent Millay – by Nancy Milford.  I’ve been reading this one for months now.  It’s a great book but difficult emotionally.   Edna St. Vincent Millay is in my blood.  My mother introduced me to her work when I was in junior high school, and that set me upon the road of Poet.


I’d like to write a novel.

I’m going to attempt a 400 word story about the word “merry”.  I may finish that tonight as well.  The actual challenge, itself, can be found here.

So, I’m pretty much all over the place in my life right now.


She’s Still Something To Me

I’m still reading Nancy Milford’s biography of Edna St Vincent Millay – Savage Beauty.  I didn’t know that she was addicted to various drugs of her day.  I keep re-reading that part.  I skipped to that part.  I want to see how all the parts of her life, before her addiction, play into it.  Can only read this a small bit at a time.

When my parents would argue, my mother would lie on her bed reading, from the Collected Works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and sobbing.  So she’s in my blood somehow.  I also own her collected works.

I suppose life just can get to be too much.  I know it can.  I see it happening all around me and all around my country and the world.

Ah well, anyways, she’s still something to me.


On Reading and Writing

Now and then I read a fiction novel.  Not so often, though.  I think I burned out on novels a decade or so ago.  I still read short stories, though.  And poetry.  That’s what I write and that’s what interests me and holds my attention.  Sometimes I read twice.  Sometimes three or more times.  That’s how I’ve learned my craft…those second and third readings.

When I want to relax, I read biographies or autobiographies of writers or historical non-fiction.  Right now,  I’m reading Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, by Nancy Milford.  She is one of my favorite poets and I don’t know much about her life other than the fact that she was very outspoken – for a woman – during her lifetime.  I didn’t know that, somewhere along the way, she developed a drinking and drug problem.  I learned that from the book’s preface.  That’s how far I am in the book.  It’s 608 pages.  I like the fact that the biographer spent time with Millay’s sister and had access to so many private papers and journals,and letters, etc.

I might take a day off,tomorrow and just read.


That Little Millay Thing – A Love Poem

That Little Millay Thing
It would be unfortunately true
that she did not have that loft
in The Village
or actually ever meet
Jack Kerouac
or hear Nin speak.
But she could recite Edna
St. Vincent Millay
as though each word
had been written upon her
mournful heart and later
that mattered and meant something
one day.

It was fortunate and quite
accidental that she’d met him
at the cafe on the square near the river
and that he happened to notice
her reading Edna
St. Vincent Millay
whose words he did recite
with mournful voice although
his eyes did and still
do sparkle so.