Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree
Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree," The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems (New York and London: Harper, 1923): 92-93. 6th printing. PS 3525 I495H3 Robarts Library.
XVI1.1The doctor asked her what she wanted done
1.2With him, that could not lie there many days.
1.3And she was shocked to see how life goes on
1.4Even after death, in irritating ways;
1.5And mused how if he had not died at all
1.6'Twould have been easier -- then there need not be
1.7The stiff disorder of a funeral
1.8Everywhere, and the hideous industry,
1.9And crowds of people calling her by name
1.10And questioning her, she'd never seen before,
1.11But only watching by his bed once more
1.12And sitting silent if a knocking came ...
1.13She said at length, feeling the doctor's eyes,
1.14"I don't know what you do exactly when a person dies."
2.2It seemed a curious thing that she had lain
2.3Beside him many a night in that cold bed,
2.4And that had been which would not be again.
2.5From his desirous body the great heat
2.6Was gone at last, it seemed, and the taut nerves
2.7Loosened forever. Formally the sheet
2.8Set forth for her to-day those heavy curves
2.9And lengths familiar as the bedroom door.
2.10She was as one that enters, sly, and proud,
2.11To where her husband speaks before a crowd,
2.12And sees a man she never saw before --
2.13The man who eats his victuals at her side,
2.14Small, and absurd, and hers: for once, not hers, unclassified.
XVI, in Harpers (May 1923); XVII, in Harpers (May 1923)
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