(He speaks, but to himself, being aware how it is with her)
Think not I have not heard.
Well-fanged the double word
And well-directed flew.

I felt it. Down my side
Innocent as oil I see the ugly venom slide:
Poison enough to stiffen us both, and all our friends;
But I am not pierced, so there the mischief ends.

There is more to be said: I see it coiling;
The impact will be pain.
Yet coil; yet strike again.
You cannot riddle the stout mail I wove
Long since, of wit and love.

As for my answer . . . stupid in the sun
He lies, his fangs drawn:
I will not war with you.

You know how wild you are. You are willing to be turned
To other matters; you would be grateful, even.
You watch me shyly. I (for I have learned
More things than one in our few years together)
Chafe at the churlish wind, the unseasonable weather.

“Unseasonable?” you cry, with harsher scorn
Than the theme warrants; “Every year it is the same!
‘Unseasonable!’ they whine, these stupid peasants!—and never
since they were born
Have they known a spring less wintry! Lord, the shame,
The crying shame of seeing a man no wiser than the beasts he
feeds—
His skull as empty as a shell!”

(“Go to. You are unwell.”)

Such is my thought, but such are not my words.

“What is the name,” I ask, “of those big birds
With yellow breast and low and heavy flight,
That make such mournful whistling?”

“Meadowlarks,”
You answer primly, not a little cheered.
“Some people shoot them.” Suddenly your eyes are wet
And your chin trembles. On my breast you lean,
And sob most pitifullly for all the lovely things that are not and
have been.

“How silly I am!—and I know how silly I am!”
You say; “You are very patient. You are very kind.
I shall be better soon. Just Heaven consign and damn
To tedious Hell this body with its muddy feet in my mind!”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem Menses

1 Comment

  1. Bonda Lewis says:

    I love the poem and wanted to share it with a friend at work. Unfortunately it is not on the page.

    Possibly that is why there have been no other comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.