Elegy Before Death


Elegy Before Death was published in Millay's poetry collection, Second April (1921).
Elegy Before Death
Phillip Guttmann, Rhododendron with an umbel-like grape, 2012

     There will be rose and rhododendron
       When you are dead and under ground;
     Still will be heard from white syringas
       Heavy with bees, a sunny sound;

     Still will the tamaracks be raining
       After the rain has ceased, and still
     Will there be robins in the stubble,
       Brown sheep upon the warm green hill.

     Spring will not ail nor autumn falter;
       Nothing will know that you are gone,
     Saving alone some sullen plough-land
       None but yourself sets foot upon;

     Saving the may-weed and the pig-weed
       Nothing will know that you are dead,—
     These, and perhaps a useless wagon
       Standing beside some tumbled shed.

     Oh, there will pass with your great passing
       Little of beauty not your own,—
     Only the light from common water,
       Only the grace from simple stone!


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