Ashes Of Life

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.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Comments (1)

To my mind, this is a poem about endeavoring to write poetry. The first stanza is a fairly comprehemsive model of the poet's vocation. The word dictinary is the clincher. What I find most intriguing is that the poet appears to be both the 'customer' and his interrogator. While he is grappling with the opacity of the world beyond his window, he is at the same time synonymous with it. Life's truths will only be disclosed through internal investigation. The ambition of this poem is slight, a rather straightforward metaphor, but its accuracy is quite profiound.