Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015

from Earth Science Digital Library

One of my favorite Millay sonnets. I have my own interpretation of the ending couplet and, in essence, the entire poem. I believe the secret lies in uncovering what she means by "the bough/That blooms between Orion and the Plough."  I would love to hear other readers' ideas on this beautiful poem.

"Grow not too high" -- sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay, from The Buck in the Snow

Grow not too high, grow not too far from home,
Green tree, whose roots are in the granite's face!
Taller than silver spire or golden dome
A tree may grow above its earthy place,
And taller than a cloud, but not so tall
The root may not be mother to the stem,
Lifting rich plenty, though the rivers fall,
To the cold sunny leaves to nourish them.
Have done with blossoms for a time, be bare;
Split rock; plunge downward; take heroic soil, ---
Deeper than bones, no pasture for you there:
Deeper than water, deeper than gold and oil:
Earth's fiery core alone can feed the bough
That blooms between Orion and the Plough.

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