Original post; Dec. 17, 2012
At a talk last summer, Maya Angelou quoted a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) that speaks to me after this latest school massacre. I’ve taken the liberty to change a couple of references just to bring it into the present:
I shall die, but that is all I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter
on the barn floor.
He is in haste; he has business in the Congo, business in
Afghanistan, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle while he cinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him
which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the
angry, lonely boy with guns hides in the cellar.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death: I am not
on his payroll.
I will not tell him the whereabouts of my friends nor of my
Though he promises me much, I will not map him the route
to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men
Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with
me; never through me
Shall you be overcome.
* We miss you, Maya!