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A Second April on the Third

Continuing with entries honoring National Poetry Month

Today, the third of April, provides a perfect opportunity for another April poem, this one entitled “Song of a Second April” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Millay was a talented if somewhat enigmatic American poet of the early twentieth century who often wrote about the many sides of love.  Her finest lyrics are comparable to the best European and English poets from the Romantic and Victorian eras.  Her sonnets, in particular, show the hand of a skilled artist with great instincts for combining words, feelings, pictures, drama, candor, and confidence into a traditional poetic style.  As a follow-up to today’s poem, I’ll include one of her sonnets in a subsequent National Poetry Month post.

Song of a Second April
by Edna St. Vincent Millay 

April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago,
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Of dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
In orchards near and far away
The grey woodpecker taps and bores;
The men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep,
Noisy and swift the small brooks run
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun,
Pensively,—only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.

Second April
by Edna St. Vincent Millay, New York & London: Harper & Bros., 1921, pp. 35-36.

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