Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Poetry - Edna St Vincent Millay

I've finished reading Edna St Vincent Millay's third book of poetry, Second April, so this will be the last of her poems in Sunday Poetry for a while. I've enjoyed discovering her work & will definitely look out for more of her poetry. I loved the poems in Second April especially, & this one, called Alms is melancholy & resigned. I love to read wintry books & poetry at this time of year.

My heart is what it was before,
A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane..

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watched your love a little while,
And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
I snap the dead brown from the stem;
But it is winter with your love,
I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
The small, ill-natured sparrows' fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight:
Today I reach around the door
And set a bowl upon the step;
My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love;
I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window, —and the birds
May take or leave them, as they will.


  1. It's hard to think of 'come and go' without thinking of Eliot's line in Prufrock. She is a wonderfully melancholy writer - I have enjoyed reading your choices.

    1. Yes, the melancholy is why I enjoy reading her, I think. Although maybe I've just chosen the melancholy poems! I thought of Prufrock too, when I read it.

  2. Even though it is sad, I love the wintry atmosphere of the poem. I've never read this poem before. Thanks for featuring it today!

    1. It's very wintry here at the moment so it's appropriate! I'm glad you liked it.