Ashes of Life

Ashes of Life
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;

Eat I must, and sleep I will, — and would that night were here!

But ah! — to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!

Would that it were day again! — with twilight near!


Love has gone and left me and I don’t know what to do;

This or that or what you will is all the same to me;

But all the things that I begin I leave before I’m through, —

There’s little use in anything as far as I can see.


Love has gone and left me, — and the neighbors knock and borrow,

And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, —

And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow

There’s this little street and this little house.


About the author

(Excerpted from

Throughout much of her career, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950) was one of the most successful and respected poets in America. She is noted for both her dramatic works, including Aria da capo, The Lamp and the Bell, and the libretto composed for an opera, The King’s Henchman, and for such lyric verses as “Renascence” and the poems found in the collections A Few Figs From Thistles, Second April, and The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923. Like her contemporary Robert Frost, Millay was one of the most skillful writers of sonnets in the twentieth century, and also like Frost, she was able to combine modernist attitudes with traditional forms creating a unique American poetry. But Millay’s popularity as a poet had at least as much to do with her person: she was known for her riveting readings and performances, her progressive political stances, frank portrayal of both hetero and homosexuality, and, above all, her embodiment and description of new kinds of female experience and expression. “Edna St. Vincent Millay,” notes her biographer Nancy Milford, “became the herald of the New Woman.”

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