Exiled was published in Millay's poetry collection, Second April (1921).
Bonaventura Peeters, Sunlight on a Story Sea, 1640s

     Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
       This is the thing I find to be:
     That I am weary of words and people,
       Sick of the city, wanting the sea;

     Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
       Of the strong wind and shattered spray;
     Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
       Of the big surf that breaks all day.

     Always before about my dooryard,
       Marking the reach of the winter sea,
     Rooted in sand and dragging drift-wood,
       Straggled the purple wild sweet-pea;

     Always I climbed the wave at morning,
       Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
     That now am caught beneath great buildings,
       Stricken with noise, confused with light.

     If I could hear the green piles groaning
       Under the windy wooden piers,
     See once again the bobbing barrels,
       And the black sticks that fence the weirs,

     If I could see the weedy mussels
       Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
     Hear once again the hungry crying
       Overhead, of the wheeling gulls,

     Feel once again the shanty straining
       Under the turning of the tide,
     Fear once again the rising freshet,
       Dread the bell in the fog outside,—

     I should be happy,—that was happy
       All day long on the coast of Maine!
     I have a need to hold and handle
       Shells and anchors and ships again!

     I should be happy, that am happy
       Never at all since I came here.
     I am too long away from water.
       I have a need of water near.


facebook share button twitter share button reddit share button share on pinterest pinterest

Add Exiled to your library.

Return to the Edna St. Vincent Millay library , or . . . Read the next poem; First Fig

© 2022 AmericanLiterature.com