Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Post

I don't like having to click that smug little button "New post". It irks me. They make it too... easy.
Ah well, for lack of decent mind-furniture of my own (copyright charlotte bronte), here is a piece of writing from Edna St. Vincent Millay which I like.

"Dirge Without Music"

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned

One of the best thoughts on death ever translated to comprehensible writing. What I appreciat here is the honesty and the reality of what the writer is feeling. She's angry, she's rebellious, she's intelligent, and she loved and lost. That is reality. Emily Dickinson can snivel on about eternity and white flags all she wants (ref. "forever"), but that's not something I will experience in my current state. It's all theory and speculation. Millay's poem connects with me here and now; it verifies my experiences.
The bits I put in blue are especially... real. Think of someone you love, and what you value in them. You love that they have their own special humour. You love that they have little verbal oddities. You love the stupid way they laugh. You love the way they look at you when what they're saying is a secret or important. You love that they know and love you.
And then they're dead. They go with everyone else into the ground. And all you have left is memories.
My English teacher this past year was a really good guy. I mean, he was a deep person, and he introduced this poem to our class and talked about his dad, who is now dead. He said that when he was younger, his dad always used these sayings. You know, cliches like "A penny saved is a penny earned" and "Bids of a feather flock together". That sort of thing. Now that his father is dead, the thing that most reminds my teacher of him is when he uses one of those silly phrases that his dad used.
I've kinda been thinking about the people I know and what I would most remember them for. Some people have easy markers, and somme people are so undefineable.
I wonder what sort I am.
And I think the reason that Millay is not resigned is that if all life comes to is dirt, then what's the point. There needs to be something more to warrant all this... war, romance, fear, joy, anger, charity. Passion.

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