Elegy for the Beloved

The blue surf of the sea with white waves, splash, foam and bubbles at high tide, aqua abstract background

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide.

            Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time will not fill my teacup, will not come
To me with cucumbers in early spring.
Time will not shout, nor soothe the hornet’s sting
With ice and aloe till the skin goes numb.
Time will not curse in German, will not hum
Old drinking songs. Oh, time has never sighed
As my beloved did to see the day intrude
Upon our sleeping. She whose fortitude
Has never failed has never had it tried!
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied.

She who is lucky, she whose juice and joy
Have not been poached can speak of tolerance,
Of patient faith and trusting providence.
Let other hearts philosophy employ.
Where is my thrifty, thunder-clapping boy?
There is no sugar, nor no sugarcane,
No sweetness, no, nor source of sweetness left
For me. What is the warp without the weft?
He was my nectar and my novocaine.
Who told me time would ease me of my pain?

I am reduced to wine and whimpering.
I miss his substance and his silhouette!
Is there another sun that I might get?
For mine has withered with his withering.
The world has altered with his altering.
All that was sweet, electric, or humane
Has gone with him—all that was ripe and round
And bruised its flesh in falling to the ground—
All that might soothe, excite, or entertain.
I miss him in the weeping of the rain.

I miss him in the blossom and the bough.
The ale’s gone off, and all the cakes are stale.
I miss him in the hurricane and hail.
I miss him as the furrow does the plow.
And yet—to walk, as I am walking now,
I am content. Here at the waterside,
Content to wade in as the sun grows hotter.
I am well-satisfied to swallow water,
To swallow salt. I will be satisfied
To have him at the shrinking of the tide.


Faith Thompson’s work has been published in Juxtaprose Magazine, IDK Magazine, Alba, and The Road Not Taken. She received her MFA at Georgia College & State University. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and works as a nanny.