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Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.


Notes

"Recuerdo" is Spanish, meaning "memory", "memento", or "I remember". The poem's narrative is generally believed to have been based on Millay's friendship (and brief romance) with the Nicaraguan poet Salomón de la Selva, whom she met in 1915, though Floyd Dell contended that it had been he and Arthur Davison Ficke who had accompanied Millay on the Staten Island Ferry ride that inspired the poem.

Sources

  1. Early Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, edited by Holly Peppe (1998)
  2. What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Daniel Mark Epstein (2001)

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