Edna St. Vincent Millay
An Ancient Gesture
I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.
Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.
And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope...
Penelope, who really cried.
Edna St. Vincent Millay's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay )
Poem of the Day
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Sonnet I, Sir John Suckling
- Death is Nothing at All, Henry Scott Holland
- Being With You, Heather Burns
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- A Poison Tree, William Blake
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Heather Burns
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
(April 13,1939 - August 30, 2013)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)