Valentine

By Elinor Wylie 1885–1928 Elinor Wylie
Too high, too high to pluck
My heart shall swing.
A fruit no bee shall suck,
No wasp shall sting.

If on some night of cold
It falls to ground
In apple-leaves of gold
I’ll wrap it round.

And I shall seal it up
With spice and salt,
In a carven silver cup,
In a deep vault.

Before my eyes are blind
And my lips mute,
I must eat core and rind
Of that same fruit.

Before my heart is dust
At the end of all,
Eat it I must, I must
Were it bitter gall.

But I shall keep it sweet
By some strange art;
Wild honey I shall eat
When I eat my heart.

O honey cool and chaste
As clover’s breath!
Sweet Heaven I shall taste
Before my death.

Source: Nets to Catch the Wind (1921)

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Poet Elinor Wylie 1885–1928

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Death, Romantic Love, Desire

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Elinor  Wylie

Biography

Extravagantly praised in her lifetime, the poet and novelist Elinor Wylie suffered a posthumous reversal in her reputation but has experienced something of a revival of interest among feminist critics since the 1980s.

Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey to a socially prominent family, and grew up in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. As the daughter of a lawyer who later became solicitor general of the United . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Death, Romantic Love, Desire

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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