Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Edna St Vincent Millay Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edna St Vincent Millay poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edna St Vincent Millay poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edna St Vincent Millay poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Edna St Vincent Millay poems.

Search for the best famous Edna St Vincent Millay poems, articles about Edna St Vincent Millay poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Edna St Vincent Millay poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back

by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

The Penitent

 I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, "Little Sorrow, weep," said I,
"And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I've been!"

Alas for pious planning—
It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
The lamp might have been lit!
My little Sorrow would not weep,
My little Sin would go to sleep—
To save my soul I could not keep
My graceless mind on it!

So I got up in anger,
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon on my hair
To please a passing lad,
And, "One thing there's no getting by—
I've been a wicked girl," said I:
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!"


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes And I Call You Friend

 We talk of taxes, and I call you friend;
Well, such you are,—but well enough we know
How thick about us root, how rankly grow
Those subtle weeds no man has need to tend,
That flourish through neglect, and soon must send
Perfume too sweet upon us and overthrow
Our steady senses; how such matters go
We are aware, and how such matters end.
Yet shall be told no meagre passion here; With lovers such as we forevermore Isolde drinks the draught, and Guinevere Receives the Table's ruin through her door, Francesca, with the loud surf at her ear, Lets fall the colored book upon the floor.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend

 My most Distinguished Guest and Learned Friend,
The pallid hare that runs before the day
Having brought your earnest counsels to an end
Now have I somewhat of my own to say:
That it is folly to be sunk in love,
And madness plain to make the matter known,
There are no mysteries you are verger of;
Everyman's wisdoms these are, and my own.
If I have flung my heart unto a hound I have done ill, it is a certain thing; Yet breathe I freer, walk I the more sound On my sick bones for this brave reasoning? Soon must I say, " 'Tis prowling Death I hear!" Yet come no better off, for my quick ear.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

The Return From Town

 As I sat down by Saddle Stream
 To bathe my dusty feet there,
A boy was standing on the bridge
 Any girl would meet there.
As I went over Woody Knob And dipped into the hollow, A youth was coming up the hill Any maid would follow.
Then in I turned at my own gate,— And nothing to be sad for— To such a man as any wife Would pass a pretty lad for.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

The Goose-Girl

 Spring rides no horses down the hill,
But comes on foot, a goose-girl still.
And all the loveliest things there be Come simply, so, it seems to me.
If ever I said, in grief or pride, I tired of honest things, I lied: And should be cursed forevermore With Love in laces, like a whore, And neighbours cold, and friends unsteady, And Spring on horseback, like a lady!


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Mariposa

 Butterflies are white and blue
In this field we wander through.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Death comes in a day or two.
All the things we ever knew Will be ashes in that hour, Mark the transient butterfly, How he hangs upon the flower.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Suffer me to cherish you Till the dawn is in the sky.
Whether I be false or true, Death comes in a day or two.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Not In A Silver Casket Cool With Pearls

 Not in a silver casket cool with pearls
Or rich with red corundum or with blue,
Locked, and the key withheld, as other girls
Have given their loves, I give my love to you;
Not in a lovers'-knot, not in a ring
Worked in such fashion, and the legend plain—
Semper fidelis, where a secret spring
Kennels a drop of mischief for the brain:
Love in the open hand, no thing but that,
Ungemmed, unhidden, wishing not to hurt,
As one should bring you cowslips in a hat
Swung from the hand, or apples in her skirt,
I bring you, calling out as children do:
"Look what I have!—And these are all for you.
"


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Prayer To Persephone

 Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild, Flippant, arrogant and free, She that had no need of me, Is a little lonely child Lost in Hell,—Persephone, Take her head upon your knee: Say to her, "My dear, my dear, It is not so dreadful here.
"


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face

 When I too long have looked upon your face,
Wherein for me a brightness unobscured
Save by the mists of brightness has its place,
And terrible beauty not to be endured,
I turn away reluctant from your light,
And stand irresolute, a mind undone,
A silly, dazzled thing deprived of sight
From having looked too long upon the sun.
Then is my daily life a narrow room In which a little while, uncertainly, Surrounded by impenetrable gloom, Among familiar things grown strange to me Making my way, I pause, and feel, and hark, Till I become accustomed to the dark.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Oh Oh You Will Be Sorry

 Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
Give me back my book and take my kiss instead.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard, "What a big book for such a little head!" Come, I will show you now my newest hat, And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink! Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
I never again shall tell you what I think.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly; You will not catch me reading any more: I shall be called a wife to pattern by; And some day when you knock and push the door, Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy, I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Sweet Love Sweet Thorn When Lightly To My Heart

 Sweet love, sweet thorn, when lightly to my heart
I took your thrust, whereby I since am slain,
And lie disheveled in the grass apart,
A sodden thing bedrenched by tears and rain,
While rainy evening drips to misty night,
And misty night to cloudy morning clears,
And clouds disperse across the gathering light,
And birds grow noisy, and the sun appears
Had I bethought me then, sweet love, sweet thorn,
How sharp an anguish even at the best,
When all's requited and the future sworn,
The happy Hour can leave within the breast,
I had not so come running at the call
Of one whoe loves me little, if at all.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Night Is My Sister And How Deep In Love

 Night is my sister, and how deep in love,
How drowned in love and weedily washed ashore,
There to be fretted by the drag and shove
At the tide's edge, I lie—these things and more:
Whose arm alone between me and the sand,
Whose voice alone, whose pitiful breath brought near,
Could thaw these nostrils and unlock this hand,
She could advise you, should you care to hear.
Small chance, however, in a storm so black, A man will leave his friendly fire and snug For a drowned woman's sake, and bring her back To drip and scatter shells upon the rug.
No one but Night, with tears on her dark face, Watches beside me in this windy place.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Midnight Oil

 Cut if you will, with Sleep's dull knife,
Each day to half its length, my friend,--
The years that Time take off my life,
He'll take from off the other end!


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Portrait By a Neighbor

 Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Til past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
Any pays you back in cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Being Young And Green

 Being Young and Green, I said in love's despite:
Never in the world will I to living wight
Give over, air my mind
To anyone,
Hang out its ancient secrets in the strong wind
To be shredded and faded—

Oh, me, invaded
And sacked by the wind and the sun!


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Weeds

 White with daisies and red with sorrel
And empty, empty under the sky!—
Life is a quest and love a quarrel—
Here is a place for me to lie.
Daisies spring from damned seeds, And this red fire that here I see Is a worthless crop of crimson weeds, Cursed by farmers thriftily.
But here, unhated for an hour, The sorrel runs in ragged flame, The daisy stands, a bastard flower, Like flowers that bear an honest name.
And here a while, where no wind brings The baying of a pack athirst, May sleep the sleep of blessed things, The blood too bright, the brow accurst.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Sonnets 04: Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended

 Only until this cigarette is ended,
A little moment at the end of all,
While on the floor the quiet ashes fall,
And in the firelight to a lance extended,
Bizarrely with the jazzing music blended,
The broken shadow dances on the wall,
I will permit my memory to recall
The vision of you, by all my dreams attended.
And then adieu,—farewell!—the dream is done.
Yours is a face of which I can forget The color and the features, every one, The words not ever, and the smiles not yet; But in your day this moment is the sun Upon a hill, after the sun has set.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

The Philosopher

 And what are you that, wanting you,
I should be kept awake
As many nights as there are days
With weeping for your sake?

And what are you that, missing you,
As many days as crawl
I should be listening to the wind
And looking at the wall?

I know a man that's a braver man
And twenty men as kind,
And what are you, that you should be
The one man in my mind?

Yet women's ways are witless ways,
As any sage will tell,—
And what am I, that I should love
So wisely and so well?


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Love Is Not All

 Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; 
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink 
And rise and sink and rise and sink again; 
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, 
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; 
Yet many a man is making friends with death 
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour, Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, Or nagged by want past resolution's power, I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be.
I do not think I would.


by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Modern Declaration

 I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having 
wavered
In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the
rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these
loves;
Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having
grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of those loves;
Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a
conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink
Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of
their alert enemies; declare

That I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power; No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war; Shall love you always.