Brandywine Spider
by Jamie Wyeth


Edna St. Vincent Millay

I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass,
That am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!

I’ve recently discovered that I like Edna St Vincent Millay. The anthologized poems I had read really hadn’t grabbed me, but I found a few I did like and my friend Kate shared several that she liked and suddenly I was wanting more and more Millay.

The other night Dom and I went out after we’d tucked the children into their beds and we watched for the Perseids and listened to the night chorus of frogs and crickets. And a pair of screech owls. The sound wasn’t particularly strong that night, but there have been other nights when the frogs were so loud that it does almost feel like an assault.

“I am waylaid by Beauty.”

I missed a recent Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the MFA, but we saw some of his work at the National Gallery in DC a few years ago. This piece is so haunting.

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