Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

New year’s resolutions often require that we put our excesses in check, but in today’s poems, the first of 2015, Maine’s Edna St. Vincent Millay advocates a life of excess. (Please note the important invitation that follows the Millay poems.)

First Fig and Second Fig

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –

It gives a lovely light!

– – –

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:

Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand.

Dear Take Heart Readers: Do you have a favorite poem that has appeared in this column over the past four years? Please email its title to [email protected] by Feb. 1, including your name and state location, and explaining in two concise sentences why you chose the poem. During this final year of the column, a selection of these favorites will be published, naming the selectors and using their comments as introductions for the poems they picked. For an archive of all Take Heart poems, go to this link on the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance website: mainewriters.org/programs/take-heart. – With thanks, Wesley McNair