Edna St. Vincent Millay
The Poet And His Book
Down, you mongrel, Death!
Back into your kennel!
I have stolen breath
In a stalk of fennel!
You shall scratch and you shall whine
Many a night, and you shall worry
Many a bone, before you bury
One sweet bone of mine!
When shall I be dead?
When my flesh is withered,
And above my head
Yellow pollen gathered
All the empty afternoon?
When sweet lovers pause and wonder
Whom am I that lie thereunder,
Hidden from the moon?
This my personal death?—
That my lungs be failing
To inhale the breath
Others are exhaling?
This my subtle spirit's end?—
Ah, when the thawed winter splashes
Over these chance dust and ashes,
Weep not me, my friend!
Me, by no means dead
In that hour, but surely
When this book, unread,
Rots to earth obscurely,
And no more to any breast,
Close against the clamorous swelling
Of the thing there is no telling,
Are these pages pressed!
When this book is mould,
And a book of many
Waiting to be sold
For a casual penny,
In a little open case,
In a street unclean and cluttered,
Where a heavy mud is spattered
From the passing drays,
Stranger, pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!
Search the fading letters, finding
Steadfast in the broken binding
All that once was I!
When these veins are weeds,
When these hollowed sockets
Watch the rooty seeds
Bursting down like rockets,
And surmise the spring again,
Or, remote in that black cupboard,
Watch the pink worms writhing upward
At the smell of rain,
Boys and girls that lie
Whispering in the hedges,
Do not let me die,
Mix me with your pledges;
Boys and girls that slowly walk
In the woods, and weep, and quarrel,
Staring past the pink wild laurel,
Mix me with your talk,
Do not let me die!
Farmers at your raking,
When the sun is high,
While the hay is making,
When, along the stubble strewn,
Withering on their stalks uneaten,
Strawberries turn dark and sweeten
In the lapse of noon;
Shepherds on the hills,
In the pastures, drowsing
To the tinkling bells
Of the brown sheep browsing;
Sailors cying through the storm;
Scholars at your study; hunters
Lost amid the whirling winter's
Men that long to sleep;
Men that wake and revel;—
If an old song leap
To your senses' level
At such moments, may it be
Sometimes, though a moment only,
Some forgotten, quaint and homely
Vehicle of me?
Women at your toil,
Women at your leisure,
Till the kettle boil,
Snatch of me your pleasure,
Where the broom-straw marks the leaf;
Women quiet with your weeping
Lest you wake a workman sleeping,
Mix me with your grief.
Boys and girls that steal
From the shocking laughter
Of the old, to kneel
By a dripping rafter
Under the discoloured eaves,
Out of trunks with hingeless covers
Lifting tales of saints and lovers,
Travellers, goblins, theives,
Suns that shine by night,
Mountains made from valleys,—
Bear me to the light,
Flat upon your bellies
By the webby window lie,
Where the little flies are crawling,
Read me, margin me with scrawling,
Do no let me die!
Sexton, ply your trade!
In a shower of gravel
Stamp upon your spade!
Many a rose shall ravel,
Many a metal wreath shall rust
In the rain, and I go singing
Through the lots where you are flinging
Yellow clay on dust!
Edna St. Vincent Millay's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- A Homage To The Freedom Fighters Of India, Raja Basu
- Men, Maya Angelou
Poem of the Day
- Gravestone Tanka, Chenou Liu
- Casted Caught And Casted, Susan Lacovara
- Quiet White, Susan Lacovara
- A Synthetic Poet in the Webs., Norman Jin Shyr Wang
- Lemons, Maylee Bossy
- Rhino, Jonathan Walker
- The devil Is For Real, Phyllis Strong
- Creative Souls, Anthony Daniels
- Awaken My Heart, Anthony Daniels
- Joyful Heart, Anthony Daniels