The White Bark Writhed

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The white bark writhed and sputtered like a fish
Upon the coals, exuding odorous smoke.
She knelt and blew, in a surging desolate wish
For comfort; and the sleeping ashes woke
And scattered to the hearth, but no thin fire
Broke suddenly, the wood was wet with rain.
Then, softly stepping forth from her desire,
(Being mindful of like passion hurled in vain
Upon a similar task, in other days)
She thrust her breath against the stubborn coal,
Bringing to bear upon its hilt the whole
Of her still body... there sprang a little blaze...
A pack of hounds, the flame swept up the flue!—
And the blue night stood flattened against the window, staring through.

Monadnock Valley Press > Millay