Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. 
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Credit


Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Dirge Without Music" from The Buck in the Snow and Other Poems. Copyright © 1928 Edna St. Vincent Millay. Used with permission of The Millay Society.

Author


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine, on February 22, 1892. A poet and playwright poetry collections include The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver (Flying Cloud Press, 1922), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Renascence and Other Poems (Harper, 1917) She died on October 18, 1950, in Austerlitz, New York.

Date Published: 2016-05-24

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/dirge-without-music