Beauty is not enough

Two poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Since it’s Poetry Month, below you will find two poems 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.


Time, that renews the tissues of this frame,

That built the child and hardened the soft bone,

Taught him to wail to blink, to walk alone,

Stare, question wonder, give the world a name,

Forget the watery darkness whence he came,

Attends no less the boy to manhood grown,

Brings him new raiment, strips him of his own:

All skins are shed at length, remorse even shame.

Such hope is mine, if this indeed be true,

I dread no more the first white in my hair,

Or even age itself, the easy shoe,

The cane, the wrinkled hands the special chair:

Time, doing this to me, may alter too

My anguish, into something I can bear.

Have you read any of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Selected Poems – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

A magnificent anthology of the finest works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, perhaps the premier American lyricist of the twentieth century.

Copyright © by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

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