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Elegy Before Death

by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1921

There will be rose and rhododendron
   When you are dead and under ground;
Still will be heard from white syringas
   Heavy with bees, a sunny sound;
Still will the tamaracks be raining
   After the rain has ceased, and still
Will there be robins in the stubble,
   Brown sheep upon the warm green hill.
Spring will not ail nor autumn falter;
   Nothing will know that you are gone,
Saving alone some sullen plough-land
   None but yourself sets foot upon;
Saving the may-weed and the pig-weed
   Nothing will know that you are dead,—
These, and perhaps a useless wagon
   Standing beside some tumbled shed.
Oh, there will pass with your great passing
   Little of beauty not your own,—
Only the light from common water,
   Only the grace from simple stone!

Published in Second April
Tags: beauty, death, existential, funerals, loss, nature

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