To Love Impuissant
Love, though you riddle me with darts,
And drag me at your chariot till I die,--Oh, heavy prince! Oh, panderer of hearts!--You hear me tell how in their throats they lieWho shout you mighty: thick about my hairDay in, day out, your ominous arrows purr,Who still am free, unto no querulous careA fool, and in no temple worshiper!I, that have bared me to your quiver's fire,Lifted my face into its puny rain,Do wreathe you Impotent to Evoke DesireAs you are Powerless to Elicit Pain!(Now will the god, for blasphemy so brave,Punish me, surely, with the shaft I crave!)
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
Take that, Cupid!
I came across this in reading Edmund Wilson's The Shores of Light. It first appeared in the magazine Dial in 1920, where Wilson read it. Millay would have been 28 at the time, and she lived on until 1950.
Wilson hadn't at that time met Millay, but knew her poetry and liked it and says he hoped maybe he would be the one she would fall in love with. It wasn't to be...