Dirge Without Music Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Dirge Without Music

Rating: 3.3


I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the
love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not
approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the
world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Dirge Without Music
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Mike Goode 28 June 2009

I found this poem several years ago and it has haunted me ever since. It strikes at both the pain caused by the loss of a loved one and at the futility of fighting that pain. It also reduces the loss in that we know it is suffered by all; by the wealthy, the powerful, the young, the old...by all. Now, tonight, it hits with full force as I sit in an intensive care room, watching my dear Mother pass this earth. I will pass this poem on at her services. The pain will still be there, overwhelming pain, yet this poem will help force the pain out of my insides to the surface where i can deal with it and hopefully put most of that pain to rest, as shall my Mother. May God accept her beautiful soul.

15 3 Reply
Colleen Courtney 17 May 2014

A true but sad piece. We all will end up this way eventually. Why fight it. Resign yourself to the fact that this is what life is.

5 10 Reply
Mar Mar 06 March 2007

This poem was read in remembrance of a dear friend who lost himself to the world, alone on a german traintrack. They hit me then, those haunting words forever clinging to his memory. We miss you.

10 3 Reply
Eric Paul Shaffer 29 June 2005

This is one of the finest poems about defying death that I've ever read. On 9/11, this is the first poem I sought out to read. There is fierce solace here that one needs in the face of the outrage death incites.

8 3 Reply
Sara S 28 July 2009

there's a book Baby by Patricia MacLachlan one of my favorite books and this poem is like the moment of truth...

3 6 Reply
OOFERISS 22 May 2019

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2 0 Reply
Castellenas John 22 March 2019

A classic. Poet used the words with great skill. Made the reader believe every word.

2 0 Reply
daddys girl 08 May 2018

me daddy gjhjgfjsjdgfjhahad

2 4 Reply
jhonny wong tong 08 May 2018

I peed in my mouth jsegsjgjdgjadjgkdsajgkjdshgfjkda

2 6 Reply
stewart howes 03 May 2018

This is beautiful and I understand your train of thought

5 0 Reply
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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Rockland / Maine / United States
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