“I know a hundred ways to die” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I know a hundred ways to die.
I’ve often thought that I’d try one:
Lie down beneath a motor truck
Some day when standing by one.

Or throw myself from off a bridge—
Except such things must be
So hard upon the scavengers
And men that clean the sea.

I know some poison I could drink.
I’ve often thought I’d taste it.
But mother bought it for the sink,
And drinking it would waste it.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“I Only Know That Every Hour With You”

I only know that every hour with you
Is torture to me, and that I would be
From your two poignant lovelinesses free!
Rainbows, green fire, white diamonds, the fierce blue
Of shimmering ice-bergs, or to be shot through
With lightning or a sword incessantly–
Such things have beauty, doubtless; but to me
Mist, shadow, silence–these are lovely, too.
There is no shelter in you anywhere;
Rhythmic intolerable, your burning rays
Trample upon me, withering my breath;
I will be gone, and rid of you, I swear:
To stand upon the peaks of Love always
Proves but that part of Love whose name is Death.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why”

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning, but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay (1933-01-14)

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“I, Being Born A Woman and Distressed”

I, being born a woman and distressed
By all the needs and notions of my kind,
Am urged by your propinquity to find
Your person fair, and feel a certain zest
To bear your body’s weight upon my breast:
So subtly is the fume of life designed,
To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
And leave me once again undone, possessed.
Think not for this, however, the poor treason
Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
I shall remember you with love, or season
My scorn wtih pity, — let me make it plain:
I find this frenzy insufficient reason
For conversation when we meet again.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay