Edna St. Vincent Millay

Fall in June

This from naturalist and photographer Thomas Hook, of Southbury, Conn.:    “Was driving up Old Sherman Hill Road in Woodbury (Conn.) today and saw these two leaves out of the corner of my eye and stopped to get a picture. I went home and got the right lens and came back to take another shot. These were the only two autumn leaves in an expanse of green.’’

This from naturalist and photographer Thomas Hook, of Southbury, Conn.:

“Was driving up Old Sherman Hill Road in Woodbury (Conn.) today and saw these two leaves out of the corner of my eye and stopped to get a picture. I went home and got the right lens and came back to take another shot. These were the only two autumn leaves in an expanse of green.’’

In response to the picture, another New England Diary friend sent part of the first stanza of Maine native Edna St. Vincent Millay’s (1892-1950) poem “The Leaf and the Tree’’:

“When will you learn, my self, to be

A dying leaf on a living tree?

Budding, swelling, growing strong,

Wearing green, but not for long,

Drawing sustenance from air, 

That other leaves, and you not there,

May bud, and at the autumn's call

Wearing russet, ready to fall?’’

'Only you are gone'

Brook in the early spring in Southbury. Conn.

Brook in the early spring in Southbury. Conn.

 

"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 wood-pecker 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.''

-- Song of a Second April, by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). She grew up in several towns on the Maine Coast before heading to New York, where she became famous.

 

'Only you are gone'

APRIL this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
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;
From orchards near and far away
The gray wood-pecker taps and bores,
And 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.” 


― Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Song of a Second April''

'More than young and sweet'

"Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.

You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird's wings too high in air to view,—
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair, —and the long year remembers you."


-- Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Mindful of You the Sodden Earth in Spring'