A favorite poem . . . warning, it’s angsty


This is a poem written by one of the most noted American poets of her day, Edna St. Vincent Millay(1892-1950). Millay was not only a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of verse, she was also a playwright and a feminist. Having read her biography, I can also say she had a pretty fascinating, if rather tumultuous, life.

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think of the old saying about time healing all wounds, and I know it’s simply not true. Some wounds, losses, pains stay with us forever.  They may diminish to some degree, plague us less; the scar tissue forms on our pysche and the raw ugliness is mercifully relieved. But they never quite heal completely.

I also find myself thinking of Sir Guy and how he suffered over Marian’s death. I’ll never believe he did it in less than a moment of  sheer temporary madness. A horrifying moment when all his dreams, hopes and plans died before his very eyes . . . he lived on with the guilt and regret, shame and pain.  But I think a part of him died before that fateful encounter with Vasey and Isabella in the castle. Part of him died with Marian in the desert that day.  And that’s something for which I can never quite forgive Marian, as blinded as she was by her loyalty to King Richard and manipulated by Robin.   Thank goodness our Sir Guy ultimately found redemption!



Here Is A Wound That Never Will Heal, I Know

Here is a wound that never will heal, I know,

Being wrought not of a dearness and a death,

But of a love turned ashes and the breath

Gone out of beauty; never again will grow

 The grass on that scarred acre, though I sow

Young seed there yearly and the sky bequeath

 Its friendly weathers down, far Underneath

Shall be such bitterness of an old woe.

That April should be shattered by a gust,

That August should be levelled by a rain,

I can endure,

and that the lifted dust

Of man should settle to the earth again;

But that a dream can die, will be a thrust

Between my ribs forever of hot pain.

25 responses »

  1. So very moving. Thank you for this, Angie. And I agree, time definitely does not heal all wounds. We just have to learn to live with the pain.

    • She was a great poet and really captured how I’ve felt and how I imagined poor Guy felt. This is one of the poems that has always stuck in my hand since I first read it in high school.

    • Thanks, Jazz. Sometimes you need sad songs, sometimes you need angsty poems. Actually, I was discussing her famous “burning candles at both ends” poem earlier on Twitter with our young friend Gisbornesboy, and this one popped into my mind. Had to share.

  2. Never truer or more beautiful words were spoken, either in that beautiful poem or in what you said about Guy and Marian. I’ll never forget that Richard said he couldn’t sleep for several nights before filming that scene as I’m sure in his mind he “was” Guy and he could not contemplate killing the woman he deeply loved! I doubt if many actors would be thus affected and to me it shows how seriously he portrays each of his characters.

    And you are right – some wounds never heal completely. The pain may lessen but it is always there to some degree and can reappear when we least expect it.

    • I think that must have been a really hard scene for them both. Lucy was so fond of working with Richard and saw him as a mentor and I always felt he was rather protective of her because of the age difference. I know he said they talked about it a lot before performing the scene. No one would have wanted to have to do that one twice. 😦 And I think, given the storyline, they did the best job possible. Richard is a very, very special fellow, is he not??

      Yes, even now, although it’s been years since I lost both my parents, I will see or hear something that sets me off and I just have to cry. I still miss them.

      • Quite a moving piece of prose. And a fitting description of that moment in RH. The death of a dream is one of the most excruciating moments in a person’s life. The death of the person that embodies that dream is soul-shattering. To be the one that caused that death … pure hell.

        Given the storyline, the two of them gave a believable (and tear-jerking) performance. Her moment of joy at realizing her love for Robin. His moment of bone-deep despair at realizing his love was in vain. I’m of the opinion that he was temporarily insane, too. How else could something like that happen?

        Goodness, waxing philosophical of a Friday night, aren’t we?

        • Sometimes one needs to wax philosophical as well as rhapsodic (as I so often do over Mr. A) I suppose . . . I read a lot of poetry when I was younger and it’s kind of good to rediscover some of it and to share . . . my English teacher said I was a deep thinker 😉 even for a blonde. LOL

      • It’s an incredible performance. I agree, no one would want to shoot that twice. Yes, Richard is a very special fellow in the best possible way, a superb actor and a lovely thoughtful person. I really cannot imagine another actor working today who could have portrayed that temporary insanity in a way that convinced me completely. I still gasp when I see that scene.

        • Agreed. I could come to no other conclusion, knowing what we knew about Guy and the depth of his feelings for Marian, how he had protected and saved her again and again. That madness of the moment pushed him over the edge.

  3. I’m not one for poetry, never have been, but every so often something like this appears and I find I do read and appreciate it. It certainly is appropriate for Guy and the effect Marian’s death had on him.
    I watched that particular episode of RH just the other night with the commentary on, and Richard’s words, that he couldn’t sleep before filming Marian’s death scene, stick in my head too. IIRC he wasn’t happy at all with the turn of events and told the writers so.
    I too believe Guy had a moment of madness and realising that all his dreams were shattered, itresulted in a kind of “if I can’t have you neither will he” response. Richard is so very, very good in this scene, poor Guy breaks my heart every time.

    • I am glad you enjoyed the poem, Mezz. It just seemed so right for its parallels with poor Guy’s tragic circumstances. If I am not mistaken, Richard said in a print interview (can’t remember which, sorry) that after reading the script, he called TPTB and said, I quote, “Are you f**king crazy??” Now, I might be wrong, but Richard does not strike me as the kind of guy who would say something like that w/o provocation. He was very upset they chose to write Marian out by having her die at Guy’s hands. If Marian had to die, it should have been at Vasey’s hands. Thus Guy would have been torn between his loyalty to the sheriff and his desire to avenge Marian’s death. He and Robin could have still blamed each other for Marian’s death and been daggers drawn until the whole flashback uniting thing.

      • It was in a print interview, and my recollection was that his response was something along the lines of “WTF?” but I thought I may have it confused with his reaction to the Bateman plot! 😉

        • I could definitely be wrong, but I really did think he said that he asked them that. Don’t feel like looking it up right now, to tell you the truth. Just found out someone has been lying about Heather at Topix and saying she has a criminal record. Good lord, when the f**k will all this end??! And this is a well known blogger we believe is behind all this, not KK. *steam coming out of ears*

          • I can’t believe this is happening again!! I’m sorry but I think legal action is the only way this is going to stop! Whoever is the culprit is has to be brought to account before people’s lives are ruined. Too angry to write more tonight.

            • My understanding from Heather is steps are being taken. False ip addresses can be gotten around. Someone else who did this sort of thing on Topix ended up being brought to trial and she lost.

              Oh, this individual who claimed Heather had a criminal record is supposedly from Bucharest, Romania. However, as someone pointed out on the Topix site, she slandered Heather on a US site. So she can still be held responsible according to US law no matter where she actually lives. And how, pray tell, would someone from ROMANIA know all these alleged sordid details concerning someone in California? Methinks I smell a great big ol’ jealous RAT. This Topix site is apparently a hotbed for this kind of malicious talk. I certainly won’t spend any time there.

              • Certainly sounds like a place to steer well away from! I’m very thankful to hear SOMETHING is being done. Penalties need to be really stiff I think to deter otherS from trying similar things. I think you have hit the nail on the head there!! “Big ol’ jealous RAT” sounds like a very apt description. It boggles my mind how such people sleep at night! They must have some really warped sense of what is right and wrong! It makes me feel rather sick to tell you the truth. My prayers go out to Heather and others who have been treated in such a way. I guess putting into words what I feel has helped me let off some steam!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Believe me, the level of anger I have felt has really caused a considerable amount of steam to build up in yours truly. This sort of this is the equivalent of people sending anonymous poison pen letters in the past. Only now with the internet it’s so much easier to attack people where a potentially huge number of people can see it. And let’s face it, you can come up with anything no matter how ridiculous it is, and some people will believe it, in spite of the fact they don’t know either the person making the accusations or the victim. Just because it’s on the internet, folks, doesn’t mean it’s TRUE.

                One poor man was slandered on this same website by an anonymous person claiming he was a criminal, a sexual pervert, etc. and even though nothing was ever substantiated, so many rumors were floating around his home town he lost his job and had to move to another city.

                They eventually tracked the person down doing this–a woman he had worked with in a store a decade before who, for whatever reason, decided she wanted to harm him all these years later. And charges were brought against her. She lost the case and was ordered to pay money. He said he never expects to get anything, as she has staunchly insisted he will never get one thin dime out of her. She actually thought the Constitution gave her the right to spread unsubstantiated lies about the man. She didn’t pay very good attention in her civics classes. He just wanted his life back, and who can blame him?!

                It’s awful to see this kind of thing happening to anyone anywhere. But when it happens to people who have only tried to do good and be a positive force in the fandom of a man who is such a good, upright person–it’s truly, truly heartbreaking.

          • Well, we were both referring to a print interview so there’s a good chance we’re correct! I went looking for it, but couldn’t find it.

            I’m so sorry to hear that there’s been more trouble for Heather. I hope that whatever steps are being taken, they are successful and the culprit feels the full force of the law.
            I haven’t been on Topix, it sounds like the kind of forum I try to avoid like the plague (I stick to a handful of familiar sites/blogs) although occasionally I have strayed inadvertently onto those websites in my naivety and really wished I hadn’t! 😦

  4. The falseness of the “time heals all wounds” maxim is an ongoing theme in Edna St Vincent Millay’s work — I think of her sonnet “Time does not bring relief: you all have lied”. I love her sonnets. A modern master.

    • Her work really does speak to me and my own life experiences. Would have loved to have been at one of her readings, in her bohemian gowns with that red gold hair like a nimbus . . . I really need to dig out that biography of her and re-read it. A great poet and an American treasure.

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