Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

“Now I Become Myself”: The Poetry of May Sarton

When I can, I like to use Mondays to cover anything and everything that can be termed  “inspirational.” To celebrate the kick-off of #OctPoWriMo, Mondays in October will feature some of my favorite poets.

It’s not the first time that I’ve done so here on Flights of Fancy. Back in January, I included an awesome clip of Maya Angelou reading “Still I Rise.” And in February, I included a clip of Broadway star Audra MacDonald performing James Baldwin’s poem, “Some Days,” set to the music of Steve Marzullo.

May Sarton (Source: Wikipedia)

Today I’m featuring twentieth-century poet May Sarton (1912- 1995). Sarton was a prolific writer, penning over 50 works including novels and books of poetry, along with journals and personal memoirs.

Throughout her long career, she touched on a wide range of topics,  including nature, love and relationships, women and feminism, as well as aging, solitude, and the challenges of creative life. Though a lesbian herself, Sarton resisted being labeled a “lesbian poet.” Instead, she wanted to focus “on what is universally human about love in all its manifestations” (Wikipedia). Today, over forty of her books are still in print, and her work continues to be studied in university classrooms across the country, particularly in Feminist Studies departments.

Here are two poems by Sarton. First, an audio clip of the poet herself reading “My Sisters, O My Sisters,” and second, “Now I Become Myself.”

Enjoy! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

“My Sisters, O My Sisters”

“Now I Become Myself”

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
‘Hurry, you will be dead before-‘
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

 -oOo-

For more on May Sarton, visit the following sources:

“May Sarton, a Poet’s Life

“About May Sarton”

3 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of May Sarton, but I loved the poem you posted. I’ll definitely have to read more of her work. Thanks!

  2. I love May Sarton and have read all her journals, but it’s been decades since I’ve read her poetry. Thanks so much for post this and reminding me of how amazing she is.

  3. Thanks for a fabulous introduction to a new poet. 🙂 X

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