By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
             Beauty is not enough.
             You can no longer quiet me with the redness
             Of little leaves opening stickily.
             I know what I know.
             The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
             The spikes of the crocus.
             The smell of the earth is good.
             It is apparent that there is no death.
             But what does that signify?
             Not only under ground are the brains of men
             Eaten by maggots,
             Life in itself
             Is nothing,
             An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
             It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
             Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). This poem was originally published in 1921 and is now in the public domain. For a biography of Millay, see Nancy Milford, Savage Beauty. Wikipedia has a reasonable introduction here. Millay is eminently Google-able.

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