I envy poets their ability to make language sing. I'm just a clunky writer of prose. This morning, looking out on a grey, dreary Monday morning that signals a return to work, I went looking for a poem that would express that odd regret that comes over one in vulnerable moments. Not something I feel all the time, but that's the beauty of poetry. Later today, I may go looking for a joyful poem. But for now, I have this one, one of my favorites, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)
Edna St. Vincent Millay
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.
From Collected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, published by Harper & Brothers Publishers. Copyright © 1956 by Norma Millay Ellis.