Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

Maine’s Edna St. Vincent Millay was known for the haunting music and deep feeling of her lyrics, as in today’s example, which rejects the indoors world of her “tiresome heart” for the flight of wild swans.

Wild Swans

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.

And what did I see I had not seen before?

Only a question less or a question more;

Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.

Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,

House without air, I leave you and lock your door.

Wild swans, come over the town, come over

The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. This poem is in the public domain. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions. Comments about it may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at [email protected] or 228-8263.