The Home Furnishing Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

          Edna St. Vincent Millay’s monogrammed towels are on display at Steepletop, the 700-acre farm where she secluded herself from an adoring public.

The Boston Globe

           The iron is set too high. Don’t put it on where it says “Linen”—or it will scorch the linen. Try it on “Rayon”—and then, perhaps on “Woollen.”

Note from Millay to a neighbor who helped her keep house.

I’ll tell you a secret that nobody knows—
I’ve a big fat crush on swags and jabots
and other expensive window treatments
that when installed look very neat. Gents,
I have many, calling upon me
almost to the point that they fall upon me.
“I don’t want your love,” I blush, I stammer,
“but could you bang a nail in the wall with this hammer?”

O monogram! Mark of shallow vanity
that one desires one’s initial on a towel for all to see!
I hesitate—am I too vain?
That I don’t want a towel hanging that’s much too plain?
That I want instead one that looks back at me
with the first initials of my names three?
“O what the hell,” I scream, and say “Screw ’em!”
“Please mark them E S little t V M!”

At night, before in bed I lay
I lift my eyes to heaven and pray:
“Oh God, permit me one more day!
and I’d also like a new duvet.”

I don’t know much, but this much is certain:
There was some kind of fungi on my shower curtain,
And when I got naked it seemed to look
at me through every shower I took.
And so, though I love every living thing,
into the trash this plastic I fling.

Future generations may think me loopy
for my verses, daft and goopy,
but one swelling emotion has my heart all filled up:
I detest of all things yellow waxy build-up!


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