Once from a big, big building,
When I was small, small,
The queer folk in the windows
Would smile at me and call.

And in the hard wee gardens
Such pleasant men would hoe:
“Sir, may we touch the little girl’s hair!”—
It was so red, you know.

They cut me coloured asters
With shears so sharp and neat,
They brought me grapes and plums and pears
And pretty cakes to eat.

And out of all the windows,
No matter where we went,
The merriest eyes would follow me
And make me compliment.

There were a thousand windows,
All latticed up and down.
And up to all the windows,
When we went back to town,

The queer folk put their faces,
As gentle as could be;
“Come again, little girl!” they called, and I
Called back, “You come see me!”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem A Visit To The Asylum


  1. Anca says:

    This poem makes you think about the human nature. People’s obsession and how these obsessions afect them when they loose their touch with reality. The alliteration and the simile in the poem help develop the theme which is the subconscious of desturbed individuals. It is very relevant for the “Roaring Twenties.” it was a time when society had to deal with lost mindes and lost riches. But then you have to wonder about the poets on life and how that might have impacted the writing of the poem and one would be tempted to think about her life choices.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think I want to marry this poem. Lolz, but it has many different meanings to anyone who would take the time to read it, I guess. To me it just feels like that girl has so many problems but can’t solve them, so other people try to do that for her, but she keeps on rejecting them.

  3. kayla says:

    that is a very interesting poem, but if i was the little girl i would freak.

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