your life is beautiful

Why I may name my daughter Edna.

Every Wednesday, an email blast goes out to 90,000 female subscribers from the news publisher who owns my magazine. In that email is an excerpt from my work blog, including a link back to it in its entirety. Yesterday, the blast included a post I wrote this week about National Poetry Month. On it, I shared this, one of my favorite poems.

Sonnet II

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, — so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

I remember the first time I read this poem. I was watching my friend Mandy’s children, and I had just put them to bed. I had curled up on her plush white sofa, my bare feet underneath me, and opened the book of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry that Mandy had crammed into my hands as she walked out the door. “Read this. It’s my favorite.”

I flipped to the middle of the book, scanning titles, nervous to dive back into poetry after my brief foray into Emily Dickinson in tenth grade, which had left me scribbling nonsense into notebooks in my government class, lamely attempting to channel Emily, with no luck. But Edna was different. And I was different.

“Sonnet II.” Not a very interesting title, but I read on. And when I had finished, I said – out loud – “Yes.”

My desk phone rang a few minutes after I posted the poem on my blog Tuesday. “Hi Faith,” came a woman’s voice. “It’s Michelle. In advertising. I just wanted to say I love that poem; I always have. ‘You all have lied…’ I still have my book, all tattered and yellowed pages. ‘And so stand stricken, so remembering him!’…His name was Steven.”

That is the power of poetry; the power of words.

And so, I issue to you the same challenge I issued to my skirt! blog readers:

Post your favorite poem on your blog, and link to it in the comments below. Deal or no deal?

4 Responses to “Why I may name my daughter Edna.”

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