Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will,—and would that night were
But ah!—to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
Would that it were day again!—with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don’t know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I’m through,—
There’s little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me,—and the neighbors knock and
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse,—
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
There’s this little street and this little house.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem Ashes Of Life


  1. al says:

    the last lines say it all-about profound loneliness and life in your face! beautiful poem.

  2. Ricky McLeod says:

    I agree with the comments of Karen Ballance. You have said exactly what this great poem is about Karen !!!! I have read this poem many times and and at various times identified with the sentiments….

  3. Karen Ballance says:

    When first glanced at, the title “Ashes of Life” may possibly cause speculation of many thoughts. One could conclude that the poem was about the pains of life, ruins of life, or life after a major crisis (such as a fire). The poem could be paraphrased into one simple statement. After the writer’s love has gone away, she feels nothing for life and sees no point in it. This poem has end rhyme that goes in the pattern ABABCDCDEFEF. It also has personification. It makes love out to be someone. It also uses a simile when it says, “And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse.” The attitude of this poem is lifelessness and dreariness. The shift occurs during the second stanza starting at “But all the things…” After reading the poem, the title means much more. Now it can show that “Ashes of Life” mean the pain after love is gone or the result of something devastating. The theme of this poem is that without love we are empty.

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