What is the context of the third stanza of "Feast" by Edna St. Vincent Millay?     

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The context of the third stanza of the poem "Feast" by poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is her talking about life and its anticipations. This is evident even in stanza one and two of this three stanza poem.

 

Consider that in the first stanza, the narrator in this poem (it may be Millay, and it may not be) talks of indulging in wine/the vine at every opportunity but that the actual experience of imbibing was not ever as satisfying as the “anticipation” of imbibing.

 

In addition, looking at the second stanza we see the narrator espousing that eating of every root and plant - earthly edible vegetation -  was something she also indulged in considerably. Again, she states that nothing she ate as pertains to fruit and such was ever as good as the “anticipation” of eating.

 

So, this all leads to the final stanza (three) where the narrator of the poem states that she wishes all grape/wine and fruit and vegetables (the bean as an example) should be given to those who grow these foods. She desires to be in want – to be thirsty and hungry and enjoy the joys of “anticipation”, which are more satisfying to her than attaining the goal of having a physical experience. Her joy is more spiritual in a sense, in the mind, where her thoughts and attitudes please her more than the physical.

 

When we anticipate something deemed to be desirous we often cloak the desired thing with great expectations that often it can never deliver. As a result, the thoughts leading up to the act can be more satisfying than the actual act and this is the context of the poem and stanza three – the close of this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

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