Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland on Feb. 22, 1892, and remains one of America’s best-known poets. In today’s poem, she speaks to Christ about the way his birthday is celebrated in the modern world. 

TO JESUS ON HIS BIRTHDAY

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

For this your mother sweated in the cold,

For this you bled upon the bitter tree:

A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;

A paper wreath; a day at home for me.

The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;

Up goes the man of God before the crowd;

With voice of honey and with eyes of steel

He drones your humble gospel to the proud.

Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows

Are all your words to us you died to save.

O Prince of Peace! O Sharon’s dewy Rose!

How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.

The stone the angel rolled away with tears

Is back upon your mouth these thousand years.