Poetry Sunday: Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay

This poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay was published over a hundred years ago, in 1921. I've read that it was written after the end of her affair with another poet and that it reflected her emotions regarding the end of that affair. 

I was particularly arrested by her statement that it is not only underground that men's brains are eaten by maggots. I think I've met some of those people!

Still, in spite of everything, every year April comes down the hill "like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers." And aren't we grateful that it does!  


by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.


  1. More than a touch of bitterness here.

  2. Happy Easter!
    Have a blessed day!

  3. I just can't feel that way about April on the beautiful April day we are having where I live. Although, April, you'll have to apologize harder than this for winter.

    1. April is actually one of the more pleasant months where I live, before the heat of summer sets in. Thus it is a favorite of mine.

  4. I do love Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry! Good choice. :D

    1. I don't think I've ever read one of hers that I didn't like!

  5. Oh, I like this one so much, and I don't think I've ever read this before now. Wow. "April
    comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers." Yes, it does!

    Makes me want to go read everything Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote.


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