Category Archives: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Photo by Arnold Genthe - 1914

As a teenager starving for more female role models (specifically poets), someone who knew me rather well recommended that I check out Edna St. Vincent Millay.  The recommend-er correctly believed that I would not only be fascinated by Millay’s biography, but by her poetry, as well.  She was truly a woman who lived her art and that is something that I admire with all of my heart.

The Little Ghost

I knew her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high–higher than most–
And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone–
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown’s white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do–and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled–there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.

And where the wall is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused–then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.

From:  Renascence and Other Poems

The Dream

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, — it screeched!

Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
And you were gone!  Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
Ah, it is good to feel you there!

From:  Renascence and Other Poems

And Edna St. Vincent Millay reading Love is Not All

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