What is Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Spring" about?

Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Spring" expresses the mood of a speaker who is so aware of death's presence that even spring's beauty and new life cannot not comfort her, as it is cyclical in nature, just as life and death are.

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In this poem, the speaker is so aware of the presence of death that not even all the signs of new life in spring can console her.

The poem's speaker addresses her thoughts to the month of April, addressing it as if it is a person. She asks in the first line why April comes again. She then says that beauty "is not enough." The speaker acknowledges the blooming of the flowers, the warmth of the sun, and the smell of the earth as "good" and as evidence that, at least for a time, there is "no death." But what does that "signify" or matter, she asks? It doesn't erase her awareness that people are buried underground—in other words, all the sunshine and bloom can't obscure the fact that death exists. The speaker states that life "in itself" is "nothing." She compares it to an empty cup and uncarpeted stairs. The return of spring leaves the speaker uncomforted. She calls April "an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers." The last line is an allusion to Ophelia, who babbles and strews flower in Hamlet because her depression has led her to go mad.

The speaker of the poem expresses a mood of bleak despair. Rather than bring her happiness, April's burst of new life seems silly and superficial, a mockery of the reality of death and pain that lurks beneath the surface.

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