Poetry Sunday: The courage that my mother had by Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is a sad fact of life that we often do not fully appreciate our parents until it is too late. It is certainly true of me. I never really appreciated the courage with which my mother faced life and the many challenges of her life until it was too late to tell her how much I admired that. So now all I can do is try to live with at least some of that courage, hoping that she has passed it on to me even in my ignorance.

The courage that my mother had
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in a granite hill.
The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it is something I could spare.
Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave!-
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.


  1. For many people there is a lot of truth to this. People tend not to really appreciate others until they are gone.

    That is great verse you posted. I do not think that I have read it before.

    1. I'm not sure Millay is read that much anymore, but her truth is still there for us.

  2. There is so much truth in this verse. More wisdom than we can imagine goes to the grave, but thank goodness that avarice, misery, insensitivity, cruelty, deception, meanness, sadism, and other less than salutary character traits go there too.

    1. We can only hope that those in our lives pass on the wisdom and courage and not all those less salubrious characteristics.

  3. I feel the same way about my mom. I am wearing one of her necklaces right now! Edna St Vincent Millay was the poet who got me reading poetry. I read an excellent biography of her called Savage Beauty by Nancy Mitford some years ago.

    1. Millay is a good one to introduce a reader to the joys of poetry.


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