Journey was published in Millay's collection, Second April published in 1921.
Van Gogh, Clumps of Grass, 1889

     Ah, could I lay me down in this long grass
     And close my eyes, and let the quiet wind
     Blow over me—I am so tired, so tired
     Of passing pleasant places!  All my life,
     Following Care along the dusty road,
     Have I looked back at loveliness and sighed;
     Yet at my hand an unrelenting hand
     Tugged ever, and I passed.  All my life long
     Over my shoulder have I looked at peace;
     And now I fain would lie in this long grass
     And close my eyes.
                        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.

This poem is featured in our selection of 100 Great Poems.


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