The Bean-Stalk


Inspired by the classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, which you may enjoy after reading Millay's poem.
The Bean-Stalk

     Ho, Giant!  This is I!
     I have built me a bean-stalk into your sky!
     La,—but it's lovely, up so high!

     This is how I came,—I put
     Here my knee, there my foot,
     Up and up, from shoot to shoot—
     And the blessed bean-stalk thinning
     Like the mischief all the time,
     Till it took me rocking, spinning,
     In a dizzy, sunny circle,
     Making angles with the root,
     Far and out above the cackle
     Of the city I was born in,
     Till the little dirty city
     In the light so sheer and sunny
     Shone as dazzling bright and pretty
     As the money that you find
     In a dream of finding money—
     What a wind!  What a morning!—

     Till the tiny, shiny city,
     When I shot a glance below,
     Shaken with a giddy laughter,
     Sick and blissfully afraid,
     Was a dew-drop on a blade,
     And a pair of moments after
     Was the whirling guess I made,—
     And the wind was like a whip

     Cracking past my icy ears,
     And my hair stood out behind,
     And my eyes were full of tears,
     Wide-open and cold,
     More tears than they could hold,
     The wind was blowing so,
     And my teeth were in a row,
     Dry and grinning,
     And I felt my foot slip,
     And I scratched the wind and whined,
     And I clutched the stalk and jabbered,
     With my eyes shut blind,—
     What a wind!  What a wind!

     Your broad sky, Giant,
     Is the shelf of a cupboard;
     I make bean-stalks, I'm
     A builder, like yourself,
     But bean-stalks is my trade,
     I couldn't make a shelf,
     Don't know how they're made,
     Now, a bean-stalk is more pliant—
     La, what a climb!

Featured in our selection of Children's Poems.


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

Add The Bean-Stalk to your library.

Return to the Edna St. Vincent Millay library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Blue-Flag in the Bog

Or read more short stories for kids in our Children's Library

© 2022