Over at Brainpicker, a wonderful source of all sorts of literary and other titbits, I read this piece today about the poet Edna St Vincent Millay. Apparently, the 25 year old Edna was banned from her graduation at university. The reason: for staying out partying with her pals! Her friends rallied round and she was allowed to go to the ceremony in the end, where some of her poetry was used in the programme.
My favourite Millay poem, Pity Me Not, hadn’t been written yet when she graduated with her cherished ‘AB’ (like our BA degrees now). I like the last two lines particularly.
Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by;
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me.
This love I have known always: love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.