Arts & Culture · Poetry

Poetry Sunday: Traveling with Edna St. Vincent Millay

Millay_magnLet it not be forgotten that during the time when America was arguably at the height of self-expression—the Jazz Age—our most popular poet was a woman. Thomas Hardy once said that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Millay was bound by no conventions. She bedded men and women, single and married—they and she. She was loyal and fickle, loved and betrayed and everything in between. Mostly she was unsettled and unsettling. In this season of travel, here is a memorable three-stanza indication of her restless spirit and abundant talent.





The railroad track is miles away,
   And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
   But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
   Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
   And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
   And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
   No matter where it’s going.

                                                Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892–1950

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