Now the autumn shudders
In the rose’s root.
Far and wide the ladders
Lean among the fruit.
Now the autumn clambers
Up the trellised frame,
And the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.
Brighter than the blossom
On the rose’s bough
Sits the wizened orange,
Bitter berry now;
Beauty never slumbers;
All is in her name;
But the rose remembers
The dust from which it came
(Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892-1950)
I drank at every vine.
The last was like the first.
I came upon no wine
So wonderful as thirst.
I gnawed at every root.
I ate of every plant.
I came upon no fruit
So wonderful as want.
Feed the grape and bean
To the vintner and monger:
I will lie down lean
With my thirst and my hunger.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
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.
Sonnets 04: Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended by Edna St. Vincent Millay
If to be left were to be left alone,
And lock the door, and find one’s self again,
Drag forth and dust Penates of one’s own,
That in a corner all too long have lain;
Read Brahms, read Chaucer, set the chessmen out
In classic problem, stretch the shrunken mind
Back to its stature on the rack of thought_
Loss might be said to leave its boon behind.
But fruitless conversation and the exchange
With callow wits of bearded cons and pros
Enlist the neutral daylight, and derange
A will too sick to battle for repose.
Neither with you nor with myself, I spend
Loud days that have no meaning and no end.
I know I am but summer to your heart (Sonnet XXVII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I know I am but summer to your heart,
And not the full four seasons of the year;
And you must welcome from another part
Such noble moods as are not mine, my dear.
No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell
Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing;
And I have loved you all too long and well
To carry still the high sweet breast of Spring.
Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes,
I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums,
That you may hail anew the bird and rose
When I come back to you, as summer comes.
Else will you seek, at some not distant time,
Even your summer in another clime.
I see so clearly now my similar years
Repeat each other, clad in rusty black,
Like one hack following another hack
In meaningless procession, dry of tears,
Driven empty, lest the noses sharp as shears
Of gutter-urchins at the hearse’s back
Should sniff a man died friendless and attack
With silly scorn his deaf triumphant ears.
I see so clearly how my days must run,
One year behind another year until
At length these bones that leap into the sun
Are lowered into the gravel, and lie still.
I would at times the funeral were done,
And I abandoned on the ultimate hill.