Saturday, September 29, 2012
A LOVELY LIGHT
A good friend called and when she heard my raspy voice (because of my having a cold), she cautioned me by saying: "It gives a lovely light." She didn't need to use the complete quote as we are usually simpatico and engage in verbal shorthand; I knew she was referring to an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem:
"My candle burns at both ends,
It will not last the night,
But, oh, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light."
What a nice reminder to take care of myself!
We recited the poem together.
We spoke about how, as teenagers, we adored Millay. She asked, "Do you think anybody still reads her?" I said, "There's a Millay Society." She asked, "I wonder if we loved her so much because she was a feminist and free-thinker or because she was a great poet?" I said, "Well, you know what Thomas Hardy said--the two greatest things about America--skyscrapers and Millay!" She said, "Well, she's not in the GREAT category like Yeats."
I asked, "Remember Mort Sahl?" She said, "Wow, you DIGRESS!" I said, "No, he said, "They quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay, but they believed Henry Kaiser." She wailed, "How the Hell do you remember these things?" I asked, "How many times could you ever have a quote by Sahl about Millay?"
She said, "I think I'll drag out Dirge Without Music; I haven't heard it since you had it recited at a funeral."
Simultaneously, we both began to say, "And I am not resigned."