Spring Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay


Rating: 3.2

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edward Kofi Louis 03 April 2016

Life ib irswlf! And to respect nature. Thanks for sharing.

1 6 Reply
Colleen Courtney 17 May 2014

I sense a feeling of anger coming through this piece. Anyone else?

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Barry Middleton 03 April 2016

Yes, lots of anger. She is saying life cheats us in a way that it does not cheat nature. So the babble about spring and April has no meaning.

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Geoffrey Fafard 07 April 2015

Stunning, deep and provoking poetry …I will never look at April in the same light again!

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leona nilling 15 July 2018

such a good poem ever! thks dude!

1 0 Reply
Susan Williams 03 April 2016

I like this. She is looking under the buds and seeing something real but dark. She isn't in the mood to rhapsodize about tripping gaily through fields of wildflowers whilst birds sing merry tunes. She sees the flip side and it is there and she challenges it. Faith, or any other life philosophy, would be shallow if it did not recognize death, destruction, decay and deal with them.

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Savita Tyagi 03 April 2016

She says...It is apparent there is no death. All the more reason to enjoy spring with its fresh flowers and fragrant air.

1 4 Reply
Anil Kumar Panda 03 April 2016

It is a month of fresh flowers and nice weather. But sadly you cant see it. Nice write though.

2 1 Reply
Kim Barney 03 April 2016

The most negative poem about spring I have ever read. I was shocked that this was actually written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. She says life is nothing. Life is a gift from God, and April with its flowers and other plant life is a reaffirmation of that gift.

5 1 Reply
Barry Middleton 03 April 2016

Reading a second time, I see a different message. She does not say life is nothing, she says life in itself is nothing. I believe she is saying the worth of life depends on what you do with it. She says just beauty is not enough even though it is apparent there is no death. but she goes on to say life is an empty cup - so it must be filled. That it is a flight of un-carpeted stairs - it goes upward but needs more, a carpet in this case. Read this way she is saying there must be more. Death is not death but Not only under ground are the brains of men Eaten by maggots. She is cautioning us not to let our brains be eaten, fill the cup, carpet the staircase, live live to its fullest. That sounds more ESVM doesn't it?

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Rockland / Maine / United States
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