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:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

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


  1. Janylee McGlinchy says:

    A close reading of the text reveals that the poem, “Sorrow” is a very sad and tragic one. Sadness is the emotion on display. And it is tragic in that the sadness only gets deeper. The reader gets a vivid sense of darkness and gloom, “a ceaseless rain.” And the writer tells us that life is passing her by and she does not care, to her it is only, “slow and brown.” That is the way sorrow is. There is a sense of numbness to reality. Nothing touches her soul. For her, there is no dawn (one which brings the light) but only the others who “scream in pain” are afforded it. And even this does not matter to her. I do suspect if Edna read the poem to herself time and time again, the tears would come and sorrow for that moment at least, would be done.
    (Edna St. Vincent Millay is related to me through my paternal grandfather Alton Orion Pease’s side of the family).

  2. poet chik says:

    This poem is so powerful! It tells how when you’re alone and depressed, you are able to exress all your passion and fury, but when you’re being watched you, for some unexplainable reason, withhold all your emotions but NEVER stop feeling your pain. And as others are getting on with life, you are stationary; diverting your thoughts from what’s hurting you.

  3. anand says:

    one of the greatest poem i ever read.

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