Huntsman, What Quarry?

I was raised on Disney princesses in the 90s. The ballgowns, princes, and you better believe I have every single song memorized. (Of course the villains were always my favorite…but I was a rebel. I mean, come on, can you get a better song than Be Prepared?)

There’s been a movement in the more recent years not to raise girls on princesses. And I get it–we don’t want our little girls to be reliant on a man, to believe in being whisked off our feet and that’s all it takes to be Happy Ever After. Because that’s not real life. That’s why Frozen is so popular, because the men aren’t the reason for strength. Sure there is a handsome prince, but he’s the villain in the end (spoiler alert…but come on…who HASN’T seen Frozen BY NOW), and even Kristoff doesn’t get true love’s kiss. Ugh. My love for Disney hurt after that one.

I got a kick out of this poem because Millay just GOT IT. She spat all over Happily Ever After. Men are just way too distracted creatures for all that.

Huntsman, What Quarry?

“Huntsman, what quarry
On the dry hill
Do your hounds harry?
When the red oak is bare
And the white oak still
Rattles its leaves
In the cold air:
What fox runs there?”
“Girl, gathering acorns
In the cold autumn,
I hunt the hot pads
That ever run before,
I hunt the pointed mask
That makes no reply,
I hunt the red brush
Of remembered joy.”
“To tame or to destroy?”
“To destroy.”
“Huntsman, hard by
In a wood of grey beeches
Whose leave are on the ground,
Is a house with a fire;
You can see the smoke from here.
There’s supper and a soft bed
And not a soul around.
Come with me there;
Bide there with me;
And let the fox run free.”
The horse that he rode on
Reached down its neck,
Blew upon the acorns,
Nuzzled them aside;
The sun was near setting;
He thought, “Shall I heed her?”
He thought, “Shall I take her
For a one-night’s bride?”
He smelled the sweet smoke,
He looked the lady over;
Her hand was on his knee;
But like a flame from cover
The red fox broke–
And “Hoick! Hoick!”cried he.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

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