Edna St. Vincent Millay

Alms

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My heart is what it was before
A house where people come and go,
But it is winter with your love:
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again,
But it is winter with your love:
The frost is thick upon the pane.

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs.
I watched your love a little while,
And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
And snap the dead brown from the stem,
But it is winter with your love:
I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
The small, ill-natured sparrows' fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight;
Today I reach around the door
And set the bowl upon the step.
My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love:
I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window--and the birds
May take or leave them, as they will.

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Edna St. Vincent Millay