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Edna St. Vincent Millay

(22 February 1892 – 19 October 1950 / Rockland / Maine / United States)

Elegy Before Death


There will be rose and rhododendron
When you are dead and under ground;
Still will be heard from white syringas
Heavy with bees, a sunny sound;

Still will the tamaracks be raining
After the rain has ceased, and still
Will there be robins in the stubble,
Brown sheep upon the warm green hill.

Spring will not ail nor autumn falter;
Nothing will know that you are gone,
Saving alone some sullen plough-land
None but yourself sets foot upon;

Saving the may-weed and the pig-weed
Nothing will know that you are dead,—
These, and perhaps a useless wagon
Standing beside some tumbled shed.

Oh, there will pass with your great passing
Little of beauty not your own,—
Only the light from common water,
Only the grace from simple stone!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Read poems about / on: autumn, spring, rose, rain, green, beauty, water, alone, elegy, light, death

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 8:53:00 AM)

    An interesting poem. Makes one realize that other than close family and friends, who else will notice you are gone? (Report) Reply

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