Happy Birthday Edna St. Vincent Millay. A prolific writer, third woman to win the Pulitzer for poetry, sixth person and second woman to win the Robert Frost medal. Quite possibly the finest sonnet writer of all time, a dangerous thing to claim against the likes of Shakespeare and Petrarch.
The penniless, pretty, red-headed Vassar graduate came to prominence in 1912 when her poem “Renascence” was placed 4th in a poetry contest in The Lyric Year, and the higher placed winners admitted that it was the better poem. The 2nd prize winner even offered his winnings to Millay.
So many are her sonnets that many are named simply by their first line. So this one is called “Here is a wound that never will heal, I know”.
Sonnet ; by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Here is a wound that never will heal, I know,
being wrought not of a dearness and a death,
but of a love turned ashes and the breath
gone out of beauty; never again will grow
the grass on that scarred acre, though I sow
young seed there yearly and the sky bequeath
its friendly weathers down, far Underneath
shall be such bitterness of an old woe.
That April should be shattered by a gust,
that August should be levelled by a rain,
I can endure, and that the lifted dust
of man should settle to the earth again;
but that a dream can die, will be a thrust
between my ribs forever of hot pain.