Edna St. Millay inspired me because of the way she writes her sonnets and how she describes love. Many of her sonnets are written about love but she discusses it in a way that isn’t elementary. For example, one of her poems “Love is not all” was one of my favorite poems that I read so far this semester.
“Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be, I do not think I would.”
The speaker begins by stating that you don’t need love to survive and that it doesn’t fix the most essential items. Many would agree that what she says about love in the beginning makes sense because she says that a person can do without having love. Once you read on towards the end of the poem the speaker tricks the reader and says that even though love can’t do the necessary things to survive, she still needs it. The most powerful lines in this poem for me was the last three when the speaker states, “I might be driven to sell your love for peace/Or trade the memory of this night for food./ It may well be, I do not think I would.”(12-14). Everyone knows that you can’t survive without food or peace but the speaker decides that she can’t survive without love. This poem rings true for me because I believe that humans need love in order to function properly. Food and water is good but what good is living if you can’t experience love? The love that a person needs doesn’t even have to be the romantic type but an unconditional one. To keep from rambling on about the message I received from the poem, I am going to jump to why this poem inspired me. It inspired me because I believe that love makes the world go round and without it then there is no sense of purpose. When I get up in the morning to go to work or school, I’m doing it to make money and be successful. Why do people want to be successful? I know I want to be successful and make money so that my family and my future children can be proud of me. The ambition to work hard is driven by those around you that you love. You go about your daily tasks in life not only for yourself but because you have people that you love in mind. If you didn’t have anyone in life that you loved, you wouldn’t feel the need to accomplish anything or better yet, live. In other words, Edna St. Millay really hit the spot when she said that love nourishes you much more than water or food. I always remember that life began with love. If you are having trouble with that last statement that I made, just think about why you are here and how you came into existence.