“I Feel Such Pity…”

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Rolled in the trough of thick desire
No oars, and no sea-anchor out
To bring my bow into the pyre
of sunset, suddenly chilling out
To shadow over sky and sea,
And the boat helpless in the trough;
No oil to pour; no power in me
To breast these waves, to shake them off.

I feel such pity for the poor,
Who take the fracas on the beam–
Being ill-equipped, being insecure–
Daily; and caulk the opening seam
With strips of shirt and scribbled rhyme;
Who bail disaster from the boat
With a pint can; and have no time
Being so engrossed to keep afloat,
Even for quarreling (that chagrined
And lavish comfort of the heart),
Who never came into the wind
Who took life beam-on from the start.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Paraphrase: Daily we struggle with our desires and weaknesses, yet woe to the poor who cannot steer their life, so struggling to just remain alive.

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