On Tuesday, my post referred to a poem (Spring) written by Pulitzer Prize recipient (1923), poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). According to some literary sources, her sonnets are among the best of the early twentieth century. One particular poem I’ve loved many a year is not a true sonnet but still a top-notch and memorable composition in my opinion. It’s pictured below.
From the moment I first read this poem, Vincent’s ecstasy and amazement showcased in this poem made a connection with me. (I think I might have been in high school at the time.) This poem stands in stark contrast to Spring. Whereas Spring gives a contrary and cynical view of Nature, the rapture and pure pleasure expressed in God’s World supplies Vincent’s surprising yang to the yin that infuses Spring. So enraptured is Vincent in God’s World, she suggests her passion would necessarily overflow if something as simple as a bird call sounded on her ears.
This contrast of two seasons by Vincent causes me to wonder what life experiences brought her to express (vehemently) such different views. I haven’t been able to determine when either poem was originally written. She began composing poetry when she was quite young and published poems while still a teen.
Given Vincent’s reputation as a sonneteer, I’ve been drawn to study her work off and on over the years. Though God’s World is a fourteen-line poem, it should not be classified a sonnet. Nonetheless, the form used in this poem provides (in my view) an appealing visual image on the page. I like it when a poem sounds pleasurable to the ear but is also visually attractive. I adopted Vincent’s pattern in my own poems. (Here’s an early composition posted in 2013.)
After re-reading God’s World as a young adult, I composed a tribute poem, my own expression of delight over her original poem. Having referred to her earlier this week, I decided to dust off that tribute (yes, I spiffed it up a bit) to post today.