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About this Poem 

“Alms” was first published in Second April (M. Kennerley, 1921).

Alms

My heart is what it was before,
   A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
   The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
   I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
   The frost is thick upon the pane.

I know a winter when it comes:
   The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watched your love a little while,
   And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
   I snap the dead brown from the stem;
But it is winter with your love,—
   I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
   The small, ill-natured sparrows’ fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
   I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight;
   Today I reach around the door
And set a bowl upon the step;
   My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love;
   I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window,—and the birds
   May take or leave them, as they will.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 4, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 4, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine.

by this poet

poem

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee

poem

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
   Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain,—
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
   Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
   I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:

poem

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
  And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
  But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
  White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
  There was a