Guest poem submitted by Angela
(Poem #1293) Beloved Dust
And you as well must die, beloved dust, And all your beauty stand you in no stead, This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head, This body of flame and steel, before the gust Of Death, or under his autumnal frost, Shall be as any leaf, be no less dead Than the first leaf that fall, --- this wonder fled. Altered, estranged, disintegrated, lost. Nor shall my love avail you in your hour. In spite of all my love, you will arise Upon that day and wander down the air Obscurely as the unattended flower, It mattering not how beautiful you were, Or how beloved above all else that dies.
This poem is the first I had ever read by Millay. At the time I discovered it I was 19 and caring for my terminally ill mother. When I read this poem I felt "This is it. This is how I feel." Acceptance of the inevitability of her death mingled with a feeling of helplessness in preventing it from happening. The last 2 lines were to me its clencher: It mattering not how beautiful you were, Or how beloved above all else that dies. Angela. [Millay on the Minstrels] Poem #34, First Fig Poem #49, The Unexplorer Poem #108, The Penitent Poem #317, Inland Poem #590, Sonnet XLIII Poem #604, Euclid Alone Has Looked On Beauty Bare Poem #817, Grown-up Poem #860, Sonnet: Love Is Not All Poem #905, I will put Chaos into fourteen lines Poem #926, Dirge Without Music Poem #956, Ashes of Life Poem #1064, Travel