This poem about April is at first glance, a melancholy one. I find it peculiarly haunting, but also at the same time, hopeful.
The poet is sad here for sure, something has happened to lead her to being indifferent to spring's charms (heartache? aging? cynicism?) But how can anyone resist April's charms, that comes along in the year ' like an idiot babbling and strewing flowers'? It can crack the coldest and most cynical of souls I'm sure. That very last line is an admittance of the power of its innocence and idealism to charm.
And what it seems to say (to me anyway - how about you?) is that despite the harsh truths of life and its hurts, April reminds us of hope and beauty, optimism and renewal, all those things that are antidotes to the bad. And that no matter how fallow it can become, life will always bloom beautiful again.
Spring - Edna St Vincent Millay
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.