Thursday, July 20, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I have debated on this week's topic. John Donne, The Flea? Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress? I love the humor and the light-hearted approach to sex in both of these poems. And yet, I didn't choose an amusing poem, but one that expresses the importance of sex and its loss.

The photo is by Carl Van Vechten; it was taken in 1933 and is considered public domain. Found on Wikipedia.

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed...

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Edna St. Vincent Millay


  1. Oh, this is so melancholy, and so lovely. Thanks for posting it.

  2. the last two lines pretty much broke my heart.

  3. Yes, Millay is a wonderful poet. I have not come across this poem before. Thank you.

  4. I was just reading that poem yesterday, when looking for suitable material for this week's post. I ended up picking something by Donne. You must have good taste in poetry :)

  5. Oh, how poignant. I live in fear of that moment arriving, and of knowing it.

  6. I love how quickly Millay can turn from the sentimental to the terribly honest, to make a true accounting.

  7. At one time, when I was about 20 or so, I decided to memorize as many of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems as possible. This was one of those I memorized and can still tell it to you be heart. By heart! What a great choice!

  8. Wow...What a sad poem of longing and loss...Thank you for sharing

  9. Amazingly honest poem. Thanks for sharing this treasure.

  10. ah, this one i want to stick in a book that i know i'll read years from now...reading it makes me feel old now.

  11. Thank you for doing such a great job of continuing my education! And you have gorgeous flowers also.


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