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By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   

Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   

I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   

I want him at the shrinking of the tide;

The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   

And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;   

But last year’s bitter loving must remain

Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.   

There are a hundred places where I fear   

To go,—so with his memory they brim.   

And entering with relief some quiet place   

Where never fell his foot or shone his face   

I say, “There is no memory of him here!”   

And so stand stricken, so remembering him.


Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Time Does Not Bring Relief” from Collected Poems. Copyright 1931, © 1958 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with permission of Elizabeth Barnett and Holly Peppe, Literary Executors, The Millay Society.

Source: Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2004)

Poet Bio

Born in Rockland, Maine, Edna St. Vincent Millay as a teenager entered a national poetry contest sponsored by The Lyric Year magazine; her poem “Renascence” won fourth place and led to a scholarship at Vassar College. Millay was as famous during her lifetime for her red-haired beauty, unconventional lifestyle, and outspoken politics as for her poetry. Yet her passionate, formal lyrics are cherished by many readers today, years after her death.

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