In the spring of the year, in the spring of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The trees were black where the bark was wet.
I see them yet, in the spring of the year.
He broke me a bough of the blossoming peach
That was out of the way and hard to reach.

In the fall of the year, in the fall of the year,
I walked the road beside my dear.
The rooks went up with a raucous trill.
I hear them still, in the fall of the year.
He laughed at all I dared to praise,
And broke my heart, in little ways.

Year be springing or year be falling,
The bark will drip and the birds be calling.
There’s much that’s fine to see and hear
In the spring of a year, in the fall of a year.
‘Tis not love’s going hurt my days.
But that it went in little ways.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem The Spring And The Fall


  1. Shorya GHAi says:

    I loved this poem the minute I read it. My heart spoke out to me and I can never forget it.

  2. Bridget says:

    This Poem Is so Good…. i wish that i could have come up with something like that and all. I dont realy read poems but this one stood out to me…..!!!…..:))

  3. Dan S says:

    This poem is both eternaly sad and staggeringly brilliant. It chronicles the life of a relationship. It started out with all well, he goes out of his way to please her, and enjoys her company. but as the leaves wane so does their relationship. He starts to take her less seriously, and makes fun of her beliefs, even though she still holds high feelings for him, and she must stay out of hope and stand and watch as the man she loves picks her apart little by little, until there is no love left…

  4. Rob says:

    Beautifully sad poem. Very true that the introductory sweetness is also foreboding. I suspect that from 1920s vintage of her writing, that this relationship may not have ?broken-up?, as was not the custom of the times, but wore on into a loveless long relationship ? the reference to the fall being the latter years of life and spring being youth. The ?hurt ? that it went in little ways? perhaps refers to the pain of long suffering a dieing love, and that the long suffering was worse than the loss of love.

    I have a question ? is it better in a relationship to truly love someone who doesn?t really love you, or be truly loved by someone you don?t really love? Or perhaps which is worse??

  5. michele clark says:

    When I was a teen-ager, in the 1960s, I memorized many of her poems, for fun, and because I love poetry and tried to write poetry and prose. I memorized this one, but over the years have forgotten about three of the lines in the last stanza — today I looked in two bookstores and one library trying to find this poem but couldn’t, so I came home and found it here – what a relief! It is as fun, and lovely and most of what I had memorized was correct. Her poems used to be published in 35 cent editions, all her sonnets in one, all of some other type in another, maybe ballads. sigh. thanks for putting this on the web, whoever did –

  6. Terry O'Day says:

    My daughter’s day care provider began reading her this poem daily when my daughter was three months old. She is now four months, and reciting the poem can make her stop crying. Of course she doesn’t know the sad topic, but loves the poem’s cadence.

  7. Chant says:

    this poem is so sadly poignant. From the tone in the beginning i can almost forsee the result….which is a slow and painful breakup i suspect. what’s worse is that she can’t forget and is reminded every season of the ups and downs of her fallen relationship.

  8. andy says:

    I met a girl on holiday in Spain when I was seventeen, she was from new York. her name is Karen Caputo. She sent me this poem in a letter, and I lost both in the passing of time, but I never forgot either. Every time i hear a crow or a rook call on an autumn day, i remember the poem, and her. Every time I found a poetry anthology, I would look for this poem. It was more than thirty years later – three years ago, when i suddenly though of using the Internet to find the poem, which I did, and my tummy did a little forward roll as i read it again. To me, a memory encapsulated by this peom is the beauty of poetry, and the art of the poet. I love this poem, and I always will.

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