Edna St. Vincent Millay

(22 February 1892 – 19 October 1950 / Rockland / Maine / United States)

To a Young Poet


Time cannot break the bird's wing from the bird.
Bird and wing together
Go down, one feather.

No thing that ever flew,
Not the lark, not you,
Can die as others do.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Anna Oborin (12/20/2013 2:15:00 AM)

    This poem stands as St. Vincent Millay’s address to the outstanding wit and potential of a young poet. Being fresh to the field and carrying contemporary savvy shows a level of prowess that is far from the borders of ineptitude, and displays a great potential down the paths of poetry a young poet can choose to take. I believe St. Vincent Millay specifically chose a bird to bare the metaphor, as it is free and seems to glide over gust, never giving in to the wave of difficulty faced on the pursuit to greatness. O the great distance a poet’s mind can cover is only a sliver of the oblique concept of a creative mind. One could make what they want, when they want, within their own mind and strike the match of inspiration upon any box that is willing to induce the flame of a burning to express one’s imaginative theories of what life is, how it all came to be, and where everybody’s story could go from here. St. Vincent Millay expresses a great hope to young poets -hopes that they can find their reason to spread their wings, and when they do, they can know greatness within themselves, as the first line of their first stanza of their first poem is the key they use to access the immense realm of life as not only a thinker, but a mental craftsman, who can immortalize anything they desire by simply writing their thoughts cleverly onto page after page after page of the mind’s canvas and node of apiffical thought. And as the one they call Chronos counts the sands of their being, the library of sheets stained with the mental fingerprint of the young poet will continue to teach them about the freedom and joy of thinking upon a breeze, and taking prideful flight. Having said that, this poem, and poet for that matter, is disgustingly underrated.5.8 seems like a surface judgement... especially since the depth of this simple poem is potentially endless. (Report) Reply

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