Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Lips my Lips have Kissed ... Sonnet XLIII


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.



I really admire this poem, I went searching for it last evening at a friend's site for I remembered that she had posted it some time ago ... the name of the author had escaped me.

I have not had many lads in my life to forget, but last night there was a quiet pain of remembrance in my heart as the wind did blow the rain against my window, as if it was tapping softly on the glass to remind me of memories of times past and recent ... times which have now gone.

I followed the trail of the raindrops with my finger tips upon the glass and watched the wind and rain blow unrelenting around the branches of my tree.

For Autumn is now here and the cold of Winter will soon be upon us and when I stand lonely by my tree I will wonder if love and Summer will ever sing their song again for me ... or fill this sad emptiness within my heart ... ♥


Sonnet XLIII - Edna St.Vincent Millay - 1892 - 1950


'The Black Brook' - John Singer Sargent - c 1908

14 comments:

Percy Bisque Silley said...

"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, I have forgotten..."

I hate it when that happens.

foam said...

lovely poem. the onset of fall and summer as well as the onset of our wizened years do seem to be a time for reflection.

K9 said...

its true. this one speaks to the winter of life, but at least we did kiss and feel the warmth of summer. there is a beauty to every stage of life. it is right and fitting that we have a chance at something and then it is over...so that we might turn our attention to other things...

love millay of course.

dianne said...

How true dear Sir Percy
I have noticed that you Princes, Knights and even gentleman sometimes kiss then foreget ... 'tis such a tragedy. xoxo ♡

dianne said...

Thank you Foamy dear friend,
pleased that you enjoyed the poem, it is lovely ... I have been doing a lot of reflecting of late but I don't know that I am much wiser ... maybe just a little. xoxoxo ♡

dianne said...

Yes K9 dear friend
it does speak of the Winter of life but my Winter has come prematurely for it has been too long since I was kissed and felt the wamrth of love ... too much time has escaped me.

True,there is beauty in every stage of life and one has to turn their attention to other things but I really thought that I would get more than one chance at love and Summer in my lifetime.

Yes,the poem is beautiful. xoxo ♡

puerileuwaite said...

It is a beautiful poem. I'll give Edna St.Vincent Millay (if that is her real name) that much. But it is quite bleak and despairing. So I suspect a certain "Edgar Allan Poe" actually penned it.

Forgive me, as I feel the need to share the inner monologue that I experienced whilst reading this composition.

"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, I have forgotten"

(I was thinking that this gal tends to get over-inebriated at parties.)

"and what arms have lain under my head till morning"

(Lady, I would look for arms dangling loosely, due to numbness from extended lack of proper bloodflow.)

"but the rain is full of ghosts tonight that tap and sigh upon the glass and listen for reply"

(Morse Code has been long dead as a means of communication, if that's what they're up to. Unless the ghosts are rapping out "Shave and a haircut", and waiting for "Two bits" as the response.)

"And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain for unremembered lads that not again will turn to me at midnight with a cry."

(The pain is likely the embarrassment of realizing you stayed up until midnight (probably naked, too) with a crybaby.)

"Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, yet knows its boughs more silent than before"

(Trust me. There's no such thing as a lonely tree when I need to go "walkies".)

"I cannot say what loves have come and gone"

(Further evidence of a drinking problem.)

"I only know that summer sang in me a little while, that in me sings no more."

(Now THIS is progress. The author's schizophrenia is clearly waning.)

/t. said...

love
the sonnet
and the sargent,
good to see percy again,
and who could possibly top the pug's comments

"a good man is hard to find"
  - eddie green

"a hard man is good to find"
  - mae west

× × ×

/t.

dianne said...

Yes my sweet Puggles
It is a beautiful poem, it addresses the passing of time, missed opportunities and loves that were lost.

The poem is quite dark and despairing but in light of your interpretation it has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

As always there is no-one like you to put life and this poem into its proper perspective and put a smile back on my face ... thank you my dear friend, you are a treasure. :) xoxo ♡

dianne said...

Thank you dear /t.

yes the sonnet is lovely and I thought the image by Sargent was appropriate for someone like myself to portray someone in a reflective mood ... I didn't have time to quickly paint a picture nor take a photo of the storm which was raging outside.
Yes it is good to see Percy again, it has been sweet of him to visit here.
There is no-one quite like Pug for his witty comments and his ability to lighten up a serious mood and make us all laugh.
I have heard both of those sayings before, 'a good man is hard to find' that is true and if you are fortunate enough to find one you hope that they will stay... xoxo ♡

foam said...

i don't know if you've googled millay but she quite possibly did not remember all the lovers she had ..
:). if i'm not mistaken she had more then a few.

dianne said...

No dear Foamy I just googled that particular poem after I had found it at my friend's blog.

I must go back and read more of Millay's poems, hopefully they are as lovely as this one ...
I will also read more about her life; if she had more than a few lovers then that would be good :), each one would be different and a new experience of love, or one would hope that is was for love.
A much better choice than being alone and missing out on so much. xoxo ♡

Leovi said...

I remember all I've kissed your lips, because very few. Lips soon found that my thirst and since then I have tried others, All my way I go around drinking from the same source, sometimes the kisses are fresher and more warm, a more tender and more passionate ...

dianne said...

Yes dear Leovi , there have been so few lips that I have kissed so I do remember them all, some sweet and tender and some more warm and passionate, but always nice.
It has been such a long time now, they are all just a nice memory.

Saludos. xoxoxo ♡