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A Few Figs from Thistles

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Book Overview: 

A collection of 23 poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I know, unless I go
    To Cairo and Cathay,
  Whether or not this blessed spot
    Is blest in every way?

  Now it may be, the flower for me
    Is this beneath my nose;
  How shall I tell, unless I smell
    The Carthaginian rose?

  The fabric of my faithful love
    No power shall dim or ravel
  Whilst I stay here,—but oh, my dear,
    If I should ever travel!

Macdougal Street

  As I went walking up and down to take the evening air,
    (Sweet to meet upon the street, why must I be so shy?)
  I saw him lay his hand upon her torn black hair;
    ("Little dirty Latin child, let the lady by!")
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Community Reviews

"Cut if you will, with Sleep's dull knife,
Each day to half its length, my friend,—
The years that Time takes off my life,
He'll take from off the other end!"

-Midnight Oil

I stumbled upon this slim book of poetry in E-book form and I’m glad I did. A short collection only 15 pages long, this is a nice w

[4.5] Feminist poetry from the USA in 1920: was expecting a lot of verse about the vote, I think.

I read, at first puzzled as to how this was feminist because it seemed so 'normal' - but that was the very thing. It's not ideological preaching: this attitude of taken-for-granted independence was rema

A lovely book of poems. I managed to find a hardcover 1922 printing which is also wonderful. One of my favorite verses from "The Penitent":
So up I got in anger
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon in my hair
To please a passing lad.
And, "one thing there's no getting by-
I've been a wicked girl,"

This collection was published earlier than “The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems,” but the dates of creation are not noted. However, most of them seem, at least to this reader, to represent an earlier stage in the development of her creative genius.


We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable--
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on the hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came


The Philosopher

And what are you that, wanting you
I should be kept awake
As many nights as there are days
With weeping for your sake?
And what are you that, missing you,
As many days as crawl
I should be listening to the wind
And looking at the wall?
I know a man that's a braver man
And twenty men as kind,


MY candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light!


SAFE upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

[Page 10]


WE were very tired, we were very merry–
We had

"We were very tired, we were very merry−−
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold."
সুন্দর এবং সুখপাঠ্য লেখা ; Mill

Edna St. Vincent Millay, originally from Maine, spent much of her creative life in and around New York City, with a period of her life also spent in Paris. Her life and writings were concentrated in the first half of the 20th century, her primary literary output having been plays and poetry. Her lif

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