Chilled and Tired

I shivered...teeth rattling...wrapped in a blanket on my bunk in my cabin on the Venture. The passage from Neualtenburg to Antiquity is a northern route, therefore even though it was but the end of October, winter was already upon this region.

My time with my Cousin Kendra was pleasant, albeit mostly taken up with meetings of State. I left Neualtenburg exhausted, but pleased with what we had accomplished. I had hoped to take advantage of this time on the Venture to rest and regroup. The freezing, frosty weather had another idea.

I had not been able to get a good night's rest since leaving the Port of Neualtenburg due to the bitter, bitter cold. No amount of blankets or hot tea had been able to eradicate the chill that sunk to my very bones. So, now I was huddled...completely exhausted...on my bunk for yet another frozen night.

I reached under the bunk and felt about for any of my books in my bag. I pulled out the first one I could fully grasp. I looked at the cover and smiled. "Oh Edna, you are my friend these days!"

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Renascence and Other Poems. 1917.

6. Sorrow

SORROW like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain,—
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane, 5
Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down 10
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

19. “Time does not bring relief; you all have lied”

Sonnet II

TIME does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side, 5
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim! 10
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

16. Blight

HARD seeds of hate I planted
That should by now be grown,—
Rough stalks, and from thick stamens
A poisonous pollen blown,
And odors rank, unbreathable, 5
From dark corollas thrown!

At dawn from my damp garden
I shook the chilly dew;
The thin boughs locked behind me
That sprang to let me through; 10
The blossoms slept,—I sought a place
Where nothing lovely grew.

And there, when day was breaking,
I knelt and looked around:
The light was near, the silence 15
Was palpitant with sound;
I drew my hate from out my breast
And thrust it in the ground.

Oh, ye so fiercely tended,
Ye little seeds of hate! 20
I bent above your growing
Early and noon and late,
Yet are ye drooped and pitiful,—
I cannot rear ye straight!

The sun seeks out my garden, 25
No nook is left in shade,
No mist nor mold nor mildew
Endures on any blade,
Sweet rain slants under every bough:
Ye falter, and ye fade. 30

7. Tavern

I’LL keep a little tavern
Below the high hill’s crest,
Wherein all grey-eyed people
May set them down and rest.

There shall be plates a-plenty, 5
And mugs to melt the chill
Of all the grey-eyed people
Who happen up the hill.

There sound will sleep the traveller,
And dream his journey’s end, 10
But I will rouse at midnight
The falling fire to tend.

Aye, ’tis a curious fancy—
But all the good I know
Was taught me out of two grey eyes 15
A long time ago.

I closed the book and slid it back into my bag. I settled down into my bunk, and tried to think warm thoughts. "Oh how glad I will be when this leg of the journey is OVER."