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U.S. postage stamp - Edna St. Vincent Millay
Selections from
the Sonnets by

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would
ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from
every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are
smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart,
and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

From Renascence and Other Poems
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.

From Fatal Interview
I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
And keep him there; and
let him thence escape
If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
Flood, fire, and demon - his adroit designs
Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
Till he with Order mingles and combines.
Past are the hours, the years
of our duress,
His arrogance, our awful servitude:
I have him. He is nothing more nor less
Than something simple not yet understood;
I shall not even force him to confess;
Or answer. I will only make him good.

From Mine The Harvest
Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow!
Faithless am I save to love's self alone.
Were you not lovely I would leave you now;
After the feet of beauty fly my own.
Were you not still my hunger's rarest food,
And water ever to my wildest thirst,
I would desert you - think not but I would!
And seek another as I sought you first.
But you are mobile as the veering air,
And all your charms
more changeful than the tide,
Wherefore to be inconstant is no care:
I have but to continue at your side.
So wanton, light and false, my love, are you,
I am most faithless when I most am true.

From The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems

More Selected Poetry by Millay
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