Thursday, January 1, 2009

To start with a poem

Finished Gilead on Tuesday morning, about 1:00. It was a deceptively smooth book, and I am worried that I will miss something by not letting it
"percolate" a little longer, as Mrs. L. was wont to say. More to come on it very soon. About halfway through Gilead, I found myself chasing a partial poem down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. It was one of my favorite poems, written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, who I keep running into around corners. "My Heart, Being Hungry" defines the not-always-bitterness that accompanies physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual solitude and what is precious about loss when the solitude is broken.

My Heart, Being Hungry
My heart, being hungry, feeds on food
The fat of heart despise.
Beauty, where beauty never stood,
And sweet, where no sweet lies
I gather to my querulous need,
Having a growing heart to feed.

It may be, when my heart is dull,
Having attained its girth,
I shall not find so beautiful
The meagre shapes of earth,
Nor linger in the rain to mark
The smell of tansy through the dark.