“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


Millay uses a candle as a metaphor for life. By stating that the candle will burn out relatively soon, it encourages the reader to live their own life to the fullest. Millay reminds her readers that they should hold an optimistic view on life and enjoy everything that it has to offer. By focusing on death or enemies, it is only taking for granted the time one is given to live on this earth. Every human being must appreciate the present and not dwell on the past or the future. Millay cleverly addresses both her friends and her foes in the poem to demonstrate that no one should dwell on hating anyone else because life is too short to have enemies.


Although it is considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself.

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