May Sarton is the pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton (May 3, 1912 – July 16, 1995), an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.
Sarton was born in Wondelgem, Belgium (today a part of the city of Ghent). Her parents were science historian George Sarton and his wife, the English artist Mabel Eleanor Elwes. When German troops invaded Belgium after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, her family fled to Ipswich, England where Sarton's maternal grandmother lived. One year later, they moved to Boston, Massachusetts. She went to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating from Cambridge High and Latin School in 1929. She started theatre lessons in her late teens, but ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
May Sarton Poems
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,
Leaves before the Wind
We have walked, looked at the actual trees: The chestnut leaves wide-open like a hand, The beech leaves bronzing under every breeze,
The Phoenix again
On the ashes of this nest Love wove with deathly fire The phoenix takes its rest Forgetting all desire.
Who wakes now who lay blind with sleep? Who starts bright-eyed with anger from his bed? I do. I, the plain citizen. I cannot sleep.
This is the first soft snow That tiptoes up to your door As you sit by the fire and sew, That sifts through a crack in the floor
When a Woman Feels Alone
‘When a woman feels alone, when the room is full of daemons,” the Nootka tribe Tells us, ‘The Old Woman will be there.”
A Country Incident
Absorbed in planting bulbs, that work of hope, I was startled by a loud human voice, “Do go on working while I talk. Don’t stop!”
(From) The Invocation to Kali
There are times when I think only of killing The voracious animal who is my perpetual shame,
Quotationsmore quotations »
May we agree that private life is irrelevant? Multiple, mixed, ambiguous at bestout of it we try to fashion the crystal clear, the singular, the absolute, and that is what is relevant; that is w...May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Hilary Stevens, in Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
''It is the privilege of those who fear love to murder those who do not fear it!''May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Hilary Stevens, in Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
The creative person, the person who moves from an irrational source of power, has to face the fact that this power antagonizes. Under all the superficial praise of the "creative" is the desire to kill...May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
''When one's not writing poemsand I'm not at the momentyou wonder how you ever did it. It's like another country you can't reach.''May Sarton (1912-1995), U.S. author. As quoted in Women Writers Talking, ch. 1, by Janet Todd (1983).
...I feel more alive when I'm writing than I do at any other timeexcept when I'm making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the momentthe moment of writing, t...May Sarton (1912-1995), U.S. author. As quoted in Women Writers Talking, ch. 1, by Janet Todd (1983).
Comments about May Sarton
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
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 ...