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21 January 2006

VI -- Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay's sonnets are perfect. One of my favorites begins "I will put Chaos into fourteen lines/ And keep him there; and let him thence escape/ If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape"

She was past master of sonnetry. Discovering that which is great and petty in the human heart...the chaos of the human condition and defining it--confining it to fourteen lines, beautifully spare, weighted with meaning, infused with passion. Perfection. Bluebeard is Millay's take on the old legend and also describes my mood tonight.

VI -- Bluebeard

THIS door you might not open, and you did;
So enter now, and see for what slight thing
You are betrayed. . . . Here is no treasure hid,
No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroring
The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain
For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,
But only what you see. . . . Look yet again --
An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.
Yet this alone out of my life I kept
Unto myself, lest any know me quite;
And you did so profane me when you crept
Unto the threshold of this room to-night
That I must never more behold your face.
This now is yours. I seek another place.