Edna St. Vincent Millay

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

If I Should Learn, In Some Quite Casual Way


IF I should learn, in some quite casual way,
That you were gone, not to return again—
Read from the back-page of a paper, say,
Held by a neighbor in a subway train,
How at the corner of this avenue
And such a street (so are the papers filled)
A hurrying man—who happened to be you—
At noon to-day had happened to be killed,
I should not cry aloud—I could not cry
Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place—
I should but watch the station lights rush by
With a more careful interest on my face,
Or raise my eyes and read with greater care
Where to store furs and how to treat the hair.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 10:55:00 AM)

    This piece just tugs at the heartstrings and brings a tear to the eye. Can feel the subjects desire to disbelieve what is so sadly true. Love this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Clare Mills (3/22/2008 3:21:00 PM)

    This poem reaches into your soul and twists your heart so that you feel every moment of the situation, it speaks to you on such an intimate level that you can put yourself in the poets place. It made me cry. (Report) Reply

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