Edna St. Vincent Millay Poem

A friend teaching retired professionals asked them to write their own versions of a well-known poem. I chose the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a long-time favorite.

Written over a hundred years ago, is it still valid?

And mine, does it mirror what the world might be like  in another hundred years?

Edna St. Vincent Millay

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!

   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!

   Thy mists that roll and rise!

Thy woods this autumn day, that ache and sag

And all but cry with colour!  That gaunt crag

To crush!  To lift the lean of that black bluff!

World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,

   But never knew I this;

   Here such a passion is

As stretcheth me apart, — Lord, I do fear

Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;

My soul is all but out of me, — let fall

No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.


Is my version, in view of events today, a forecast of the future?

Oh world, once there for me to see

            with summer and an occasional hail

now no more than a children’s tale.

Tidal waves, blustering winds, blistering heat

beat low what once were fields of wheat.

In vain awaits the flower for the pollinating bee,

our hopes have foundered in the polluted sea.


In that spring, now silent, our tears fall

            and mingle with the tears of rain

            whose acid drops are now the bane

of the poet’s pines, once flourishing and green,

of the forests most men have never seen,

but which razed to the ground have all

but left no place where a bird may call.

3 thoughts on “Edna St. Vincent Millay Poem

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