A Thursday Love Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This blog seems to get a lot of hits from people googling for “love poems.” Internet searches for love poems in general peak every February because of St. Valentine’s Day, but the Dad Poet gets at least a few searches for them every day.

So I have decided to add a new feature, the Thursday Love Poem. I don’t want you to expect this every Thursday. I mean I’m not committing myself here. This is just for fun, and like Edna St. Vincent Millay I don’t want to be tied down.

To be honest, I hope you don’t take such jokes too seriously. Millay was married to her husband for 26 years, until the day of his death, and she followed just over a year later. Whatever you think of any “arrangements” she and her husband may have had, it appears they loved and were committed to each other.

Millay still gets a lot of flack for some of the poems in A Few Figs From Thistles. I believe she was well aware of the dangers of burning candles at both ends, and building houses in the sand. But in her beautiful, seemingly glib little pieces were gems of truth about how we all really are at the heart. They were telling commentary too about the spirit of the women’s movement at the time. I think the point was that if men can act this way, why not women?

Whether a poet is writing about historical fact or not is never the point. It’s whether the emotions are honest even if the facts are fabricated or exaggerated. But many who wish to make every poem a poet’s confession in morality court will miss the point. I could go on, but I am writing a response to an article by a jealous moralist who doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into, and I will share that here when I am done.

Meanwhile I’ve promised a Thursday Love Poem, and what should a Thursday Love Poem be here on The Dad Poet? Well, let’s face it, it’s got to be a bit unconventional. No Hallmark cards of course, and none of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Not that your sweetheart doesn’t deserve a nice greeting card, and not they the Bard’s love poems are not a delight (actually one or two could fit in here). It’s not that Blake’s verses didn’t walk “in beauty as the night.” But we have already read Robert Burns’, “my luv is like a red red rose.” Here I want to share something different, off center, unexpected, something that resonates, though it doesn’t fit the traditional love poem mold.

On the other side of love’s penny, I do not wish to act as if true love and romance in a poem is “dishonest,” as some writers claim. But for a poem to be a Thursday Love Poem it will have to look at that tenderness squinting sideways, maybe standing on its head, in order to give us a unique view, one other than what the masses have come to expect of a love poem.

In other words a Thursday Love Poem isn’t your grandmother’s love poem, baby.

As an example I present to you now the flagship poem of this new Thursday feature, the biting little satire on the fickleness of the human heart, by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It’s entitled appropriately (She wrote this just for the Thursday Love Poem feature and has been waiting a very long time for me to post this) “Thursday.”

           THURSDAY

AND if I loved you Wednesday,
Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
So much is true.

And why you come complaining
Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,–yes–but what
Is that to me?

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25 thoughts on “A Thursday Love Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  1. Well read and nice narrative … I apprecate the sideways view of romantic love and so apparently did Edna … yes! I think she was waiting for you. Although I have been know to write love poems, I have found them to be eligiac.

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    • Yes, I’ve written a few such poems too. I know what you mean, I think. And I have a few very lovely, but unconventional ones in mind that might make it into this Thursday feature in the future. Thanks for the feedback, and the sweet response!

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    • Thank you, James. I have a bit of a history in radio and broadcasting, and have pondered getting back into a bit of that business again eventually. A poetry podcast could be fun too. And audio books, I have thought about. I almost did a volunteer thing years ago, reading books on tape at the library. I appreciate the compliment!

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  2. Well David, I’ve been wanting to get back into doing another podcast recently. I had a 2-hour call-in show with a buddy of mine for a few years but it’s been over year since we last did it. Scheduling conflicts got the best of us.

    Now I don’t know very much about poetry at all but if you’d like to consider having a broad array of current events/politics/ etc., perhaps we could try and join up on one and just see how it goes.

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    • With grad school considerations (I figure I’m not dead just yet), that might be difficult to pull off for me in the near future. But it’s worth kicking around. :-) I’m honored to be asked, James!

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  3. LOVED this post. I’d always found this particular poem a bit quirky. I never knew what to do with it until now. Thank you! I’m seeing it in a whole new light – you’re right there was a “gem of truth” to this poem. I’d just never seen it for myself before. Again, thank you.

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  4. I would not expect anything less from you than such unique view of love poetry…I shall be looking forward to these posts. Do you recall what Mae West said about love? “I never loved another person the way I loved myself.” :-)

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  5. The best part of Millay is her humor — sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes its as sharp as anything Dorothy Parker ever wrote.

    A nice poem to begin the series with …. Love in all its many forms.

    And, as always, a stellar reading.

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