Poem Of The Week – ‘We Were Very Tired, We Were Very Merry’

Some years ago a friend and poetry lover told me that Edna St Vincent Millay  was one of her favourite poets, says Gill Ward.

‘ I knew of her poetry so began to read more. I’m a fan now too.

I have chosen this poem as it made me smile; it is about merriment, fun and spontaneity. We need a bit more of that in these strange times. I love the way the poem skips along – I felt I was almost there with them!

Throughout much of her career, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the most successful and respected poets in America.

She is noted for her dramatic works and was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.

Like her contemporary Robert Frost, Millay was one of the most skillful writers of sonnets in the twentieth century, and also like Frost, she was able to combine modernist attitudes with traditional forms creating a unique American poetry.

But Millay’s popularity as a poet had at least as much to do with her person: she was known for her riveting readings and performances and, above all, her embodiment and description of new kinds of female experience and expression.

“Edna St. Vincent Millay,” notes her biographer Nancy Milford, “became the herald of the New Woman.”

Read more about her online in the  Poetry Foundation

Recuerdo       Edna St. Vincent Millay


    We were very tired, we were very merry–
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable–
    But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
    We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
    And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

    We were very tired, we were very merry–
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
    And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
    From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
    And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
    And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

    We were very tired, we were very merry,
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
    And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
    And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
    And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Hope you enjoyed this! Gill

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