2.23.2007

Edna

'O World, I cannot hold thee close enough! Thy winds, thy wide grey skies! Thy mists that roll and rise! ......' Well, I missed Edna St. Vincent Millay's birthday, it was on the 22nd. I forget how much her poetry resounds with me, especially her nature writing. I have a lovely tattered copy of her sonnets that I bought for $1 from the fabulous Bell's Books in Palo Alto, and a hard-copy of her 'Poems Selected for Young People' that I got from the Elevens for Christmas a number of years ago. Like many favorite things, Edna was introduced to me by the Elevens and Sushi...... I think I spent too many years with my nose buried in the Beat poets, & didn't learn until much later in life the poems of Millay & many others like T.S. Eliot and all my 17 century Christian mystics. I love learning new poets to devour.... In honour of her birthday I here record one of my favorites:
Assault
I had forgotten how the frog must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass,
That am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!

p.s. Thanks Mum for reminding me about Edna's birthday-you're always keeping me nice.
I can hardly remember my own family's birthdays, let alone literary heroes'......


3 comments:

b said...

ahhh!

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Camille said...

heh, you mentioned Bell's. That was one of the magical places of my childhood.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.