Poetry Monday on Tuesday

MillayI recently came across this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a poet who was once all the rage–perhaps as much for her outrageously bohemian life as for her work–and is now thoroughly out of fashion. In my view she is neither as great as she was once thought to be or as overly romantic and out of date as she is now perceived. After all, for years, her candle burned at both ends for me and so many others. This poem feels very contemporary in its attempt to reconcile the wonders of a scientific world with the primitive undertow of our human selves:

This Gifted Age

Upon this age, that never speaks its mind,
This furtive age, this age endowed with power
To wake the moon with footsteps, fit an oar
Into the rowlocks of the wind, and find
What swims before his prow, what swirls behind —
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric; undefiled
Proceeds pure Science, and has her say; but still
Upon this world from the collective womb
Is spewed all day the red triumphant child.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

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