Feb. 22, 2002
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Poem: "Spring," by Edna St. Vincent Millay from Collected Poems (Harper Collins).
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
It's the birthday of humorist and cartoonist
born in Chicago, Illinois (1925). He's known for his macabre pen and ink drawings
and stories such as The Gashlycrumb Tinies which included the lines:
A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil assaulted by bears
U is for Uma who slipped down a drain
V is for Victor squashed under a train.
It's the birthday of novelist, playwright,
and short-story writer Jane
Bowles, born in New York City (1917). She suffered from depression and
drank heavily, so she didn't publish a great deal. Her best known work is probably
her play In the Summer House (1953).
It's the birthday of writer Seán
O'Faoláin, born in Cork, Ireland (1900). He's known especially
for his short stories about Ireland's working class, and for his early novels:
A Nest of Simple Folk (1933) and Bird Alone (1936).
It's the birthday of writer Meridel
Le Sueur, born in Murray, Iowa (1900). She was an icon of feminist,
left-wing fiction for books such as Harvest (1977) and Ripening
It's the birthday of poet and playwright
Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in Rockland, Maine (1892). She was
as famous for her bohemian lifestyle in Greenwich Village as for her work. Millay
was the author of the famous lines: "My candle burns at both ends / It
will not last the night / But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends / It gives a
lovely light." She wrote steadily until her death in 1950 at her home in
upstate New York, called Steepletop, now a National Historic Landmark. Since
1973, it has housed the Millay Colony for the Arts, a retreat for writers and
It's the birthday of the first editor of
the Atlantic Monthly, poet and critic James
Russell Lowell, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1819).
It's the birthday of philosopher Arthur
Schopenhauer, born in Danzig, Prussia-now Gdansk, Poland (1788). He
was a rival of Hegel's, and wrote works refuting Hegel's philosophy. Schopenhauer
believed that we live in a world of continual strife and that the "will,"
our inner nature, inevitably leads to pain and suffering unless we are able
to renounce desire and assume an attitude of resignation. He was a great influence
on the literature of Thomas Mann, the music of Richard Wagner, and the psychology
of Sigmund Freud.
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