Underground System by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Set the foot down with distrust upon the crust of the
world—it is thin.
Moles are at work beneath us; they have tunneled the
With separate chambers; which at an appointed knock
Could be as one, could intersect and interlock. We walk
on the skin
Of life. No toil
Of rake or hoe, no lime, no phosphate, no rotation of
crops, no irrigation of the land,
Will coax the limp and flattened grain to stand
On that bad day, or feed to strength the nibbled root's of
our nation.
Ease has demoralized us, nearly so, we know
Nothing of the rigours of winter: The house has a roof
against—the car a top against—the snow.
All will be well, we say, it is a bit, like the rising of the
For our country to prosper; who can prevail against us?
No one.
The house has a roof; but the boards of its floor are
rotting, and hall upon hall
The moles have built their palace beneath us, we have
not far to fall.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Other poems by 'Edna St. Vincent Millay'

I Think I Should Have Loved You



God's World


I Shall Forget You Presently

Sweet Love, Sweet Thorn, When Lightly To My Heart

Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)

The Death Of Autumn

Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love

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