My Candle Burns at Both Ends



First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay


I could dissect this poem, line by line, pondering its possible meanings with regard to Edna’s life and writing. But this is not a lit class, it’s a blog. So I won’t. Also, I don’t want to.

It’s here today because the words are speaking to me and I need to share them.

Right now, I choose to see this poem as a reminder.

To a person who is working too much, overwhelmed and exhausting herself, who knows she cannot keep this up much longer, who addresses those who support her as well as those who do not. In the end, regardless of this knowledge, she cannot help but say how lovely it all is.

I feel these words deeply.

Watch as I go down in flames and see how beautiful the fire is.

How goddamn beautiful.

Life is difficult and stressful and a strange beauty emerges in those moments. If we look. And when we find it, we need to share it. Shout it out to friends and foes.

There is beauty in the moments of madness.


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


Are you going through a difficult time? Have you taken on too much? Could you use a break? I’ve got nothing. Sorry. No tips. No fix. Just support, solidarity, and a little bit of poetry.


56 thoughts on “My Candle Burns at Both Ends

  1. That’s a beautiful poem, Sarah. I love the light you shine, but I don’t want you to go down in flames. It’s okay to let things go, but not yourself. Take care. You’re too precious to burn out yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love it when my candle burns at both ends … my light is bright and I get so much accomplished! The light is addictive – it’s so beautiful and bright – you want it to last forever! We just need to have a really big candle, or as you pointed out, manage the flame to keep it going for a longer time. It may not be quite as bright, but just as beautiful. But seriously, chocolate always helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Apparently I have a big f’n candle. The grind is endless but the drive is there. I think of mom and all she’s gone through and I feel the need to check myself. To keep pushing myself. To take one day off at the most. Self doubt, lack of sales, countless frustrations all not only peek their heads but slap me across the face. Taxes were worthy of Indiana Jones, the PR government can go screw itself, ad clients shall always be ad clients, but god damn it, I’m Tony Montana in that last scene and if I’m going down, I’m going down in a blaze of glory.

    I salute you, fellow Ravenclaw. And may we find a fourth wind because second winds are for wusses apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like I’m one of those tiny birthday cake candles burning at both ends right now. Not going to last very long with that! Glad you have the drive but don’t drive yourself into the ground. 😉 No, seriously. Take care.

      See? Sometimes, when we realize we’re going down in flames, we have to just appreciate that blaze of glory, you know? But don’t, you know, wind up a pile of ashes. Second winds give us just enough energy to do more of what drains us and we wind up worse off for it. We’re smarter than that. Ravenclaws unite! 💙


  4. Life is a struggle sometimes, and fitting everything in is hard. I know I’m trying to do too much, but i cant bear to let anything go. The poem is beautiful, thank you for sharing. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely poem. Yep, up to my neck in it at the moment, (new job), but I can only do what I can only do. I will do my best to enjoy being in the moment despite the tower of ‘things to do’ leaning in an unsettling way! :0

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m here for the solidarity. Lol. Seriously, I love the poem and its connotation. I love your little rants with blatant honesty about striving to keep up. Just DON’T LEAVE. We’re in the same corner. I love your poetry btw and am oh so close to getting to your book! In the next month ( or so) I’ll be working on June interviews and I’ll be in touch. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Makes me want to burst into song with Bon Jovi, Blaze of Glory. That’s how we’re going down, right? Because there’s no denying that I’m going down. Heh. Beautiful light. I totally feel ya in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. That’s how we’re going down. Beautiful light. Blaze of glory. I can’t say I’m glad for the company this time, though. Wish you were watching, not burning. 💗 (Or bringing buckets of water…)


  8. How interesting…after reading your blog it felt so much like how I felt when I wrote about my Weather Vane. I feel there are many of us who feel this way. Also, I love LOVE the photo you used. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just read about the weathervane – great post. We are not alone in this feeling, you’re right about that. Take care of yourself. 💗 Thank you.

      (I love that photo, too. Such a great shot of Edna.)


  9. I’m another fan of this poem – and of the photo you chose of Edna St Vincent Millay. She always seems so stylish to me.

    As for you, please do not go down in flames. I hope more of the strange, beautiful moments you spoke of will emerge. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, for some it didn’t / doesn’t. Anne Sexton wrote poetry as therapy and later committed suicide, which I think is so sad. It absurdly defeated the whole purpose of writing poetry on the first place. My take is that artists sometimes become too self absorbed and we really need to see the bigger picture. We are not alone in our misery or in our joys, and that’s one of the great values of blogs etc. We can share ideas, encourage and help each other💖 Family and friends also help out!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Too true. For some, it doesn’t. I love Anne’s line: “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” Perhaps she did that. I see your point about becoming too immersed in our own world and not seeing outside but, sometimes, even looking outside ourselves doesn’t change what we hear in our soul. One can be surrounded by friends, family, other artists and it can make no difference. But one has to at least try, like you said, to see we’re not alone in our misery (or joy). Interesting thought about blogging in this context. 💖


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