Lifesaving Poems: Edna St. Vincent Millay’s ‘Time does not bring relief’

Anthony Wilson


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 (1892-1950)

Sitting in its frame on the office wall of a colleague, the poem caught my eye during a meeting. How many times had I seen it? Five? Twenty? A hundred?…

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