Edna St. Vincent Millay: Quotes

Yet onward!
Cat-birds call
Through the long afternoon, and creeks at dusk
Are guttural. Whip-poor-wills wake and cry,
Drawing the twilight close about their throats.
Only my heart makes answer. Eager vines
Go up the rocks and wait; flushed apple-trees
Pause in their dance and break the ring for me;
Dim, shady wood-roads, redolent of fern
And bayberry, that through sweet bevies thread
Of round-faced roses, pink and petulant,
Look back and beckon ere they disappear.
Only my heart, only my heart responds.
Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day,—sharp underfoot,
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs—
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road.
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

Second April (1921) — Journey

Now the autumn clambers
⁠Up the trellised frame,
And the rose remembers
⁠The dust from which it came.

Brighter than the blossom
⁠On the rose’s bough
Sits the wizened, orange,
⁠Bitter berry now;

The Harp-Weaver (1923) — Autumn Chant

Oh, little rose tree, bloom!
⁠Summer is nearly over.
⁠The dahlias bleed, and the phlox is seed.
⁠Nothing’s left of the clover.
⁠And the path of the poppy no one knows.
⁠I would blossom if I were a rose.

⁠Summer, for all your guile,
⁠Will brown in a week to Autumn,
⁠And launched leaves throw a shadow below
⁠Over the brook’s clear bottom,—
⁠And the chariest bud the year can boast
⁠Be brought to bloom by the chastening frost.

The Harp-Weaver (1923) — Three Songs from “The Lamp and The Bell”

I know why the yellow forsythia
Holds its breath and will not bloom,
And the robin thrusts his beak in: his wing.

The Harp-Weaver (1923) — Spring Song

In hazy summer, when the hot air hummed
With mowing, and locusts rising raspingly,
When that small bird with iridescent wings
And long incredible sudden silver tongue
Had just flashed (and yet may be not!) among
The dwarf nasturtiums—when no sagging springs
Of shower were in the whole bright sky, somehow
Upon this roof the rain would drum as it was drumming now.

The Harp-Weaver (1923) — Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree: II: The last white sawdust