Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poem for an April Day #3: "Travel"

April is national poetry month.
Today's poem is "Travel," by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  My ninth grade textbook had a unit on Millay, which included a large print of this famous photograph of the poet.

Now, I went to an all-boys high school where I felt forgotten among the jocks and popular kids, and I am not ashamed to say that I developed an enduring crush on the waifish Edna St. Vincent Millay.  I read through all of my anthologies for her poems, and I loved none of them more than this one, "Travel," in which she fantasizes about hopping on a train, "No matter where it's going."  

Good God, what could be more romantic to a fourteen-year-old me than hopping on a train with Edna St. Vincent Millay?

(By the way, I would bet that Morrissey is also a fan of this poem.  I hear echoes of it in "Nowhere Fast," off of Meat is Murder, in which he sings "When a train goes by, it's such a sad sound.")


The railroad track is miles away,
and the day is loud with voices speaking,
yet there isn't a train goes by all day
but I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
though the night is still for sleep and dreaming.
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
and hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
and better friends I'll not be knowing;
yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
no matter where it's going.

      -Edna St. Vincent Millay

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