Elegy

by


Elegy was published in Millay's poetry collection, Second April (1921).
Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay

     Let them bury your big eyes
     In the secret earth securely,
     Your thin fingers, and your fair,
     Soft, indefinite-colored hair,—
     All of these in some way, surely,
     From the secret earth shall rise;
     Not for these I sit and stare,
     Broken and bereft completely;
     Your young flesh that sat so neatly
     On your little bones will sweetly
     Blossom in the air.

     But your voice,—never the rushing
     Of a river underground,
     Not the rising of the wind
     In the trees before the rain,
     Not the woodcock's watery call,
     Not the note the white-throat utters,
     Not the feet of children pushing
     Yellow leaves along the gutters
     In the blue and bitter fall,
     Shall content my musing mind
     For the beauty of that sound
     That in no new way at all
     Ever will be heard again.

     Sweetly through the sappy stalk
     Of the vigorous weed,
     Holding all it held before,
     Cherished by the faithful sun,
     On and on eternally
     Shall your altered fluid run,
     Bud and bloom and go to seed;
     But your singing days are done;
     But the music of your talk
     Never shall the chemistry
     Of the secret earth restore.
     All your lovely words are spoken.
     Once the ivory box is broken,
     Beats the golden bird no more.


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