What is the sonnet "Time Does Not Bring Relief: You All Have Lied" by Edna St. Vincent Millay about and what type of verse is this poem?

1 Answer | Add Yours

michael-niagara's profile pic

Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

The poem entitled "Time Does Not Bring Relief: You All Have Lied" by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a sonnet of 14 lines. The poem is formal verse as opposed to free verse.

The poem is written in iambic pentameter (5 beats per line with unstressed and stressed syllables ['/]) with variations. This sonnet is an Italian sonnet in form (Petrarchan). The sonnet's first four lines have a rhyme scheme of ABBA. The sonnet's second four lines have a rhyme scheme of ABBA as well. Together, they form an octave. The final six lines of this sonnet are of the rhyme scheme CDEECD. They form a sestet.

The poem deals with the issue that time, in the narrator's view, does not heal pain- that the pain felt from the death of a loved one does not go away or subside significantly with the passage of time. The narrator in this sonnet feels that people have lied in saying that time heals all. There is evident grief in the tone of this poem.

The narrator in the poem discloses that she misses her male companion immensely. She misses him in "the weeping of the rain;"

She misses him as she continues to experience many events and situations in life; she misses her lover in all of her day-to-day living. The narrator in the poem reveals that old thoughts and memories arise in her continually and this reminiscing is painful and the emotional and mental pain wears on her.

What is especially painful is that there are many places where she fears to go because the memories of her lover are so strong. Consequently, she seeks out places where his feet have never trod, hoping that the painful memories will not arise in her. She seeks to "with relief some quiet place". However, when she does visit a place that her lover never visited, she ponders the fact that he never ever came to this place. This, in fact, makes memories of him arise, and therefore, in this place, she experiences more memories of her lover, which exacts an emotional toll on her.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question