Searching my heart for its true sorrow,
This is the thing I find to be:
That I am weary of words and people,
Sick of the city, wanting the sea;

Wanting the sticky, salty sweetness
Of the strong wind and shattered spray;
Wanting the loud sound and the soft sound
Of the big surf that breaks all day.

Always before about my dooryard,
Marking the reach of the winter sea,
Rooted in sand and dragging drift-wood,
Straggled the purple wild sweet-pea;

Always I climbed the wave at morning,
Shook the sand from my shoes at night,
That now am caught beneath great buildings,
Stricken with noise, confused with light.

If I could hear the green piles groaning
Under the windy wooden piers,
See once again the bobbing barrels,
And the black sticks that fence the weirs,

If I could see the weedy mussels
Crusting the wrecked and rotting hulls,
Hear once again the hungry crying
Overhead, of the wheeling gulls,

Feel once again the shanty straining
Under the turning of the tide,
Fear once again the rising freshet,
Dread the bell in the fog outside,—

I should be happy,—that was happy
All day long on the coast of Maine!
I have a need to hold and handle
Shells and anchors and ships again!

I should be happy, that am happy
Never at all since I came here.
I am too long away from water.
I have a need of water near.

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

4 Comments

  1. Waqas says:

    Can anybody describe the main idea an summary of this poem

  2. Hans says:

    Kira this was written in the 1920s

  3. Kira says:

    I like your poem because it has a lot of soul. I can see that you are really longing for the sea.

  4. H Edgar Hix says:

    This poem brings to my mind John Masefield’s “Sea Fever.” They are a nice compliment to each other as two writers of similar style (to me, at least… I am not a scholar) writing at about the same time. I like it that you can compare poems by a man and a woman that explore similar impulses and experiences, showing our dreams are, indeed, united.

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