Luminous The Light Of Being You

Edna-St-Vincent-Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

To Vincent

by T. A. Fry

Never was your singular voice contrived.
Nor the passion that shaped it.  Like your art,
No more separable from your racing heart
Than blood from beating, than poets from pride.
Jilted lovers, their earnest vows denied,
Your bohemian life, eagerly read,
Vainglorious words and beauty wed,
To your poetic nature like a bride.

Faithfulness to art a winsome doom.
How great was Envy’s pressure to be true,
To the siren who infamously burned?
A Pulitzer for voicing freedoms earned.
Luminous the light of being you,
Free to live and love, what you loved and whom.


It’s hard to say goodbye to Vincent, but awfully good to be about to say Hello to February.  And as much fun as its been to spend a month in her company, she would be the first to tell you variety is the spice of life.  Time to head out again farther afield with more spontaneity and new poets.

Here is a charming grainy home made movies of Edna with her friends. I highly recommend you turn your volume to zero when you watch it.  Someone, well meaning I am sure, laid in music over the top. These were silent films, similar to the films of my mother as a child.  Try watching it as Vincent would have watched it.  And then we will bid adieu to Millay letting her own words have the last word.


From Not For A Nation

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

What rider spurs him from the darkening east
As from a forest, and with rapid pound
Of hooves, now light, now louder on hard ground,
Approaches, and rides past with speed increased,
Dark spots and flecks of foam upon his beast?
What shouts he from the saddle, turning ’round,
As he rides on? — “Greetings!” — I made the sound;
“Greetings from Nineveh!” — it seemed, at least.
Did someone catch the object that he flung?
He held some object on his saddle-bow,
And flung it towards us as he passed; among
The children then it fell most likely; no,
‘Tis here: a little bell without a tongue.
Listen; it has a voice even so.

I Will Put Chaos Into Fourteen Lines

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
Flood, fire, and demon – his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet Order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years, of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him.  He is nothing more than less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess,
Or answer.  I will only make him good.

 

 

I Never Again Shall Tell You What I Think

IMG_7988
Edna St. Vincent Millay, England 1921

“What should I be, but just what I am?”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

High Tide

By George Slocumbe

We are young no longer, we have passed the springing
Season, and all the wild brilliance of the year.
We are young no longer, and the blood runs singing.
Less stridently in heart and throat and ear.

Springtime is past. but all the months of summer
Promise the heat and languor of the sun.
The drums of desire are muffled, the drummer
Replete, resplendent, dreams his course is run.

Not yet the ebbing tide, if not the flowing,
The sea beats high and loud upon the shore.
Deepest in hue the day before the going
Down of the sun, then dusk and day no more!


I have purposely not delved much into Millay’s political activities, from her long time association with Floyd Dell, to her demonstrating against the death penalty during the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, to her play Aria da Capo, to her myriad of friends and acquaintances who were at the forefront of radical leftist politics prior to World War II. It’s not that much of that aspect of her life isn’t interesting, it’s that I have focused on her poetry, not the complexity of her entire life.   I have chosen to let her words, for the most part, speak for themselves.

Given that we are on the home stretch of Millay Month, I’ll keep things simple and close the last two posts, giving her the stage.  Here are several recordings of Millay reading her poems.  I have posted Love is Not all in an earlier Fourteenlines blog.


From the Harp-Weaver

Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
Give back my book and take my kiss instead.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard,
“What a big book for such a little head!”
Come, I will show you now my newest hat,
And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!
Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
I never again shall tell you what I think.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly;
You will not catch me reading any more:
I shall be called a wife to pattern by;
And some day when you knock and push the door,
Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

I Wept Tonight When Live Words Rose

Millay 12

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever, by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favourite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, –
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.


A hundred years later and Millay is seeing a resurgence in respect and interest.   It begs the question if she were alive today and writing the very same sonnets, would she even get a sniff from publishers?   Tracey K. Smith and Terrance Hayes are using the sonnet form in innovate ways and receiving critical acclaim.  But they are not metrical sonnets. Do fuddy, duddy traditional sonnets still have a role to play or has the ghost of William Carlos Williams, (who I love by the way) won the day and free verse is forever king?  The problem is there are an incredible number of terrible free verse poets.  Go to a local poetry reading at a coffee house sometime.   There are also incredibly gifted ones.  I would say the same is true for poets that still write in rhyme, but you already have three strikes against you if send in a poem that rhymes for publishing.  I started this blog because I got tired of the endless rejection slips and figured that rather than waste my time sending in poetry that was unlikely to get a welcome, I would create a vehicle to share the poetry I enjoy and slip a few of my own in once in a while and see if I could get away with it. White, male, metrical poets that get published today are as rare as a breed as there is in the literary world.  I can’t think of a single one that has gotten my attention in recent years as I don’t think they have much of an opportunity to find their audience. If you have a favorite present day metrical poet please share….

Several chums of Millay would pull off one of the better poetic spoofs of the 20th century. Witter Bynner, along with Arthur Ficke, would create a new fake poetic movement called the Spectra Poets.  Writing under assumed names, and genders, they concocted all kinds of silliness making fun of the new fad of free verse poetry.  Unfortunately, free verse got the last laugh.   Frank Hudson, a friend of Fourteenlines, has an outstanding article on his blog.  Check out the link below and while you are there, listen to some of his original music using poems as lyrics.   Its worth the time to listen.

https://frankhudson.org/tag/arthur-davison-ficke

Bynner, although gay, and possibly involved in an on again, off again relationship with Ficke, would propose to Millay while she was in Paris via a series of letters.  Millay would turn him down and then through a series of unfortunate events, (or fortunate), Millay would accept only for Bynner to ghost her, priming the pump for Eugen to come along and sweep her off her feet.  I think Edna’s marriage with Eugen was a far more fulfilling one than if she had married Bynner, in what would have been a poor marriage of literary convenience.

If Words Are Wise

by Witter Bynner

Words, words and words! What else when men are dead,
Their small lives ended and sayings said,
Is left of them?  Their children go to dust,
As also all their children’s children must
And their belongings are of petty worth
Against the insatiable consuming earth
But words, if words are wise, go on and on
To make a longer tone of unison
With man and man than ever faint selves make
With one another for whatever sake . . . .
Therefore I wept tonight when live words rose,
Out of a dead man’s grave, whom no one knows.

It Mattering Not How Beautiful You Were

Millay 10
Portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay by William Zorach, National Portrait Gallery Washington D. C.

“It doesn’t matter with whom you fall in love, nor how often, nor how sweetly. All that has nothing to do with what we are to each other, nothing at all to do with You and Me.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay in a letter to Arthur Ficke, a life long friend and sometime lover.

Memorial For Dead Friends

by Arthur Davison Ficke

When I remember my immortal dead
And see the eyes that in a former time
Looked at me, and recall the splendor shed
God-like by those tall figures in their prime –
And do not quite forget how one man spoke,
And how one strode, and how another stood
When the word came beneath which at a stroke
His lofty tree splintered to useless wood –
And how another, prouder than the rest,
Accepted once my hand in evil hour;
And how another from his own racked breast
Brought me a secret and most healing power –
Then I desire to live at any cost,
Lest when I die these memories should be lost.


There was a dark side to Millay’s passion. Her marriage to Eugen provided 15 solid years, but the last 10 were a haze of too much drinking and eventually an addiction to morphine, first Edna and then Eugen.  Edna’s writing grew more political leading up to World War II, by her own words, propaganda, a left leaning perspective communicating a belief that the best course of action was to stay out of the war. She ran in a circle that included noted socialists and communists and though refined in her tastes for the good life, she leaned hard left in her work on behalf of a saner world.  That it amounted to nothing in reducing the horrors of World War II may have played a role in her slow descent into addiction and sloth.   The period from 1926 to 1940 were relatively lucrative for Millay, both in book sales and speaking tours, but by 1943, there were cracks starting to show in Eugen and Edna’s finances and they lived largely off of advances for books of poetry that were never delivered.

The other tragedy in the Millay family is what had been an incredibly close relationship between sisters as adolescents became strained to the point of being estranged after about 1926. Kathleen, the youngest, suffered from mental illness, depression and alcoholism.  She died young, often asking for money from Eugen and Edna in the last 10 years of her life.   Norma begged to reconnect with Edna, resorting to writing poetry that she felt would get her sisters respect and attention, but nothing really came of it.

Edna’s close friends rallied around her and Eugen, trying to jossle them out of the doldrums that had beset them.  Her friend Arthur Fricke wrote in his journal, published posthumously, of Edna;

She is the oddest mixture of genius and childish vanity; open mindedness and blind self worship, that I have ever know.  She let me, as a fellow-craftman, dissect her mistakes and scold her and make fun of her, because she feels perfectly safe in the fundamental admiration I have for her best work: but …. She has built up so enormous an image of herself as the Enchanted Little Faery Princess that she must defend it with her life. 

Arthur Davison Ficke died on November 30, 1945 from throat and lung cancer.  Edna recited the poem she had written for him graveside:

And you as well must die, beloved dust,
All your beauty stand you in no stead;
This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head,
This body of flame and steel, before the gust
Of Death, or under his autumnal frost,
Shall be as any leaf, no less dead
Than the first leaf that fell, — this wonder fled,
Altered, estranged, disintegrated, lost.
Nor shall my love avail you in your hour.
In spite of all my love, you will arise
Upon that day and wander down the air
Obscurely as the unattended flower,
It mattering not how beautiful you were,
Or how beloved above all else that dies.

Eugen would die of lung cancer 4 years later and Edna would die a year later. Eugen and Edna spent their remaining years protective of their privacy and shutting out the broader world. She rejected several lucrative fellowships and grants that would have required her to make public appearances preferring the routine existence of unpaid bills that she knew so well.

Milford’s memoir is a remarkable work, but I think Edna would think it the greatest betrayal possible, that Norma made all of her letters and unpublished poems available for everyone to read. There is a reason work goes unpublished, certainly Edna needed the money, she put out several retrospectives, agonizing over the introductions.  The level of detail that Milford crafts in her book leaves little room for privacy of human failure.  It is a bit too graphic, cold and academic in my opinion.


XVI
Wine From These Grapes

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Alas for Man, so stealthily betrayed,
Bearing the bad cell in him from the start,
Pumping and feeding from his healthy heart
That wild disorder never to be stayed
When once established, destined to invade
With angry hordes the true and proper part,
Till Reason joggles in the headsman’s cart,
And Mania spits from every balustrade.
Would he had searched his closet for his bane,
Where lurked the trusted ancient of his soul,
Obsequious Greed, and seen that visage plain;
Would he had whittled treason from his side
In his stout youth and bled his body whole,
Then had he died a king, or never died.

I Tell You Beauty Bears An Ultra Fringe

Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay

“I’m so tired of hearing about ‘Renascence,’ I’m nearly dead. I find it’s as hard to live down an early triumph as an early indiscretion.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

XXXV
Fatal Interview

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Clearly my ruined garden as it stood
Before the frost came on it I recall –
Stiff marigolds, and what a trunk of wood
The zinnia had, that was the first to fall;
These pale and oozy stalks, these hanging leaves
Neverless and darkened, dripping in the sun,
Cannot gainsay me, though the spirit grieves
And wrings its hands at what the frost has done.
If in a widening silence you should guess
I read the moment with recording eyes,
Taking your love and all your loveliness
Into a listening body hushed of sighs . . . .
Though summer’s rife and the warm rose in season,
Rebuke me not.  I have a winter reason.


We experienced the best of winter this past weekend in Minneapolis, perfect for the pond hockey events around the area.  Cold enough to produce the bright white squeaky soft snow that muffles sound and reshapes the light so that you see the world in a different way.  The roads were bad, bad enough to close schools and cancel activities and force everyone inside to cook and play games for 24 hours.  It was warm enough, at least for Minnesotans that have the winter gear and proper attitude, that working and playing outside was comfortable. It was exactly the kind of January weekend I enjoy most.

Millay was bi-sexual, her first lovers all women during college. In my opinion, bisexuality is the least accepted consonant among the LGBQT community.  It is isn’t militant enough for some political factions of sexual politics, particularly feminist sexual politics, an undercurrent of “pick a side why don’t you” running through the underbelly of the discourse.  I don’t think Millay would have used that term to describe herself, labels on sexuality are a relatively new concept. She was a generous and self absorbed lover, never truly discarding anyone in her life it seems, once someone became her lover for a period of time. The passion could go out of the balloon quickly with Vincent in terms of sex, but she always surrounded herself with vibrant people and the most vibrant remained on as friends.

The circumstances leading up to her marriage to Eugen Boissevain are a bit convoluted.  She had pursued and rejected several marriage proposals for various reasons prior to her marrying Boissevain.  She was living in Europe and somewhat miserable and lonely, both her younger sisters having already married.   Millay was tired of the constant threat of unpaid bills hanging over her head and wanted more stability that a marriage could provide.   When Eugen entered Vincent’s life he was getting over the tragic death of his first wife, Inez Milholland, who had died 7 years earlier.   By all accounts, Eugen was  the pursuer and he got what he wanted. Eugen was a good fit for Vincent.   He was not threatened by her feminist politics, nor her talent as an artist and had enough money to allow her to focus on her literary pursuits.  He contained the poise and confidence to not be threatened by her love affairs with other men and women during the remainder of their lives and marriage, while being a good companion to Vincent.

A former lover of Vincent’s, Alyse Powers, described Eugen this way:

Jboissevain1
Edna St. Vincent Millay and Eugen Boissevain

“Handsome, reckless, mettlesome as a stallion breathing the first morning air, he would laugh at himself, indeed laugh at everything, with a laugh that scattered melancholy as the wind scatters the petals of the fading poppy… One day his house would be that of a citizen of the world, with a French butler to wait on the table and everything done with the greatest bienséance, the next the servants would have as mysteriously disappeared as bees from a deserted hive, and he would be out in the kitchen washing the dishes and whistling a haunting Slavic melody, as light-hearted as a troubadour. He had the gift of the aristocrat and could adapt himself to all circumstances … his blood was testy, adventurous, quixotic, and he faced life as an eagle faces its flight.”

In short, Eugen was as complicated a personality as Vincent and they fit together intricately for the remainder of their days. The next 15 years Vincent and Eugen traveled, lived and worked at Steepletop and made a life together.   Vincent worked hard as a writer and used this period to establish herself in both her place in literary and feminist history and influence.  That she eventually fell both out and into vogue subsequently is a testament to her greatness that is at the core of her best work.  True genius is rare and eventually finds its proper place in our collective cultural appreciation of art.


XLIII
The Harp-Weaver

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Still will I harvest beauty where it grows:
In coloured fungus and the spotted fog
Surprised on foods forgotten, in ditch and bog
Filmed brilliant with irregular rainbows
Of rust and oil, where have a city throws
Its empty tins; and in some spongy log,
Whence headlong leaps the oozy emerald frog. . . .
And a black pupil in the green scum shows,
Her the inhabiter of divers places
Surmising at all doors, I push them all.
Oh, you that fearful of a creaking hinge
Turn back forevermore with craven faces,
I tell you Beauty bears an ultra fringe
Unguessed of you upon her gossamer shawl!

Here Might You Bless Me

Millay_library

 

“The longest absence is less perilous to love than the terrible trials of incessant proximity.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

XXX
The Harp Weaver

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sometimes when I am wearied suddenly
Of all the things that are the outward you,
And my gaze wanders ere your tale is through
To webs of my own weaving, or I see
Abstractedly your hands about your knee
And wonder why I love you as I do,
Then I recall, “Yet Sorrow thus he drew”;
Then I consider, “Pride thus painted he.”
Oh, friend, forget not, when you fain wound note
In me a beauty that was never mine,
How first you knew me in a book I wrote,
How first you loved me for a written line:
So are we bound till broken in the throat
Of Song, and Art no more leads out the Nine.


Millay’s critics did not like the direct way she dealt with art as Art, love as Love, sorrow as Sorrow and pride as Pride.  They felt it too direct and complained endlessly that it was immature, some even going so far to label it as “bad writing.” What is bad writing? I would really like to know. Is it like the definition of pornography in some people’s minds, they really can’t describe it, but they know it when they read it?

All reading, and particularly, reading poetry, is so incredibly subjective and personal.  I have poems that I love for one line, one image, one feeling they impart, the rest of it can grate on my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard and it doesn’t bother me a bit, in fact I almost seem to enjoy it more for having to waddle through a bit of stuff I can’t seem to wrap my head around for that moment of clarity that leaps off the page as a complete human connection.

Do people really read poetry for understanding to analyze line by line every intention of the poet?  I hope not. Do you go to an art gallery trying to figure out the meaning of every brush stroke of a painting? Do you take in every pixel of a photograph?  Of course not.   You stand back and you let your eye roam around and land on where it pleases you and then see if the brain can make something of the images in ways that make you think, or laugh, or something else. Why does ART have to be serious?  Why does poetry have to make sense?  Can it be just an image that our eye finds floating about within the poem and our mind then can land on what we find interesting?

Next time you read a poem or a novel or a news article that you don’t like, its obvious its to your eyes”bad writing,” try this; don’t read it all and don’t read it linearly.  Scan it and see it, go to the middle, go the end, and see if you find something your like, something that perks your interest,  read that.   Who knows what you may find afterwards….


 

XLV
Fatal Interview

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know my mind and I have made my choice;
Not from your temper does my doom depend;
Love me or love me not, you have no voice
In this, which is my portion to the end.
Your presence and your favours, the full part
That you could give, you now can take away:
What lies between your beauty and my heart
Not even you can trouble or betray.
Mistake me not – unto my inmost core
I do desire your kiss upon my mouth;
They have not craved a cup of water more
That bleach upon the deserts of the mouth;
Here might you bless me; what you cannot do
Is bow me down, who have been loved by you.


Fatal Interview in my opinion was Millay at the absolute height of her powers as an artist.  Many of her most famous sonnets are contained within its pages and it is written during a period of what appears to be the most stability of her life.   It is written during her time at Steepletop, the home and farm she shared with her husband, Eugen Boissevain.  Their marriage was enduring, successful and met each of their needs to be themselves in all their tortured glory.  I reject this idea that longevity is the only measure of a life well lived.  To live well in the moment and to string as many of those moments together, like pearls, whether it is a long chain or a single beautiful ball of shining hardened mucus. Vincent bet her fortune on love and left nothing for retirement. She never intended to get old.   It was not her idea of a good idea.


XXIX
Fatal Interview

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Heart, have no pity on this house of bone:
Shake it with dancing, break it down with joy.
No man holds mortgage on it, it is your own;
To give, to sell at auction, to destroy.
When you are blind to moonlight on the bed,
When you are deaf to gravel on the pane,
Shall quavering caution from this house instead
Chuck forth at summer mischief in the lane?
All that delightful youth forbears to spend
Molestful age inherits, and the ground
Will have us, therefore, while we’re young, my friend —
The Latin’s vulgar, but the advice is sound.
Youth have no pity, leave no farthing here
For age to invest in compromise and fear.

I Don’t Know What You Do Exactly When Someone Dies

Vincent
Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

XVIII
Sonnets from An Ungrafted Tree

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Gazing upon him now, severe and dead,
It seemed a curious thing that she had lain
Beside him many a night in that cold bed,
And that had been which would not be again.
From his desirous body the great heat
Was gone at last, it seemed, and the taut nerves
loosened forever.  Formally the sheet
Set forth for her today those curves
And lengths familiar as the bedroom door.
She was as one who enters, sly and proud,
To where her husbands speaks before a crowd,
And sees a man she never saw before –
The man who eats his victuals at her side,
Small, and absurd, and hers: for once, not hers,
unclassified.

      .                   .Finis


Reading the sonnets contained within Sonnets from An Ungrafted Tree, it is hard to reconcile the timeline of when they were penned to the content.   Edna St. Vincent Millay published them in 1923, several years before she met and wed her husband and more than 20 years before a sequence of deaths of men she loved would begin to surround her like a shroud. I am not one to investigate literary criticism, which ties all kinds of obscure politics and literary references to lines of poetry.  I know that is what great poets do,  they write literary criticism, they read literary criticism, they translate other great poets from other languages and they write poetry with depth so literary critics have something to do.  But I am not a great poet.  I am consumer of poetry and as I have stated before, I approach poetry with the same approach I drink wine,  I consume what I like, regardless of what other people think or the gravitas it has received.

There are seventeen sonnets in the sequence from Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree that deal with Death, using the view point of a wife watching and helping her husband die. Vincent constructed these sonnets slightly different than her previous work, but the construction in my mind is not intent on making a statement on Feminism as much as they fit the disjointed nature of the subject matter – death.  I do believe that great poets and novelists are able to create something in words that is entirely more real than the life in which they live.  These sonnets are written in third person, not first person and by doing so, they are not autobiographical, but at the same time they are chillingly personal.

The first sonnet in the sequence tells the story of many marriages, one that has subsided in working like a marriage should, but there is still a kind of connection with a history of love that cannot ever completely unchain one from the other.  The first lines speaks volumes of what has come and gone. And like most things in life, do not express the totality of the wife’s sentiments, which are flushed out in subsequent sonnets.

I
Sonnets from An Ungrafted Tree

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

So she came back into his house again.
And watched beside his bed until he died,
Loving him not all.  The winter rain
Splashed in the painted butter-tub outside,
Where once her red geraniums had stood,
Where still their rotted stalk were to be seen;
The thin log snapped; and she went out for wood,
Bareheaded, running the few steps between
The house and shed; there, from the sodden eaves
Blown back and forth on ragged ends of twine,
Saw the dejected creeping-jinny vine,
(And one, big aproned, blithe, with stiff blue sleeves
Rolled to the shoulder that warm day in spring,
Who planted seeds, musing ahead to their far blossoming).

XIV
Sonnets from An Ungrafted Tree

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

She had a horror he would die at night.
And sometimes when the light began to fade
She could not keep from noticing how white
The birches looked – and then she would be afraid,
Even with a lamp, to go about the house
And lock the windows; and as night wore on
Toward morning, if a dog howled, or a mouse
Squeaked in the floor, long after it was gone
Her flesh would sit awry on her.  By day
She would forget somewhat, and it would seem
A silly thing to go with just this dram
And get a neighbor to come at night and stay.
But it would strike her sometimes, making the tea:
She had kept that kettle boiling all night long,
for company. 


I have had more than my fair share of deaths in my circle of loved ones in the past year.  It can get to feel like death is ganging up on you.  And it has been interesting to watch how all impacted in various spheres of my life, have dealt with the grief and finality of change that death brings.  There is no one way to grieve and no right or wrong way to experience the loss of beloved ones and creatures in our lives.  Grief is entirely a personal experience best shared with others, even if it feels awkward.  In a recent conversation with someone who has experienced a bucketful of tragedy and loss in a short period of time, she stated it astutely, “I did the best that I could.”  Vincent channels that sense of being lost and doing the best you can in the final sonnet I will share from this sequence.


XVI
Sonnets from An Ungrafted Tree

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The doctor asked what she wanted done
With him, that could not lie there many days,
and she was shocked to see how life goes on
Even after death, in irritating ways;
And mused how if he had not died at all
‘Twould have been easier – then there need not be
The stiff disorder of a funeral
Everywhere, and the hideous industry,
And crowds of people calling her by name
And questioning her, she’d never seen before,
But only watching by his bed once more
And sitting silent if a knocking came . . .
She said at length, feeling the doctor’s eyes,
“I don’t know what you do exactly when a person dies.”