“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why”

By Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892–1950
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 the 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.

"What my lips have kissed, and where, and why..." by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Source: Collected Poems (Harper & Row, 1956)

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Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892–1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Romantic Love, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

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 Edna St. Vincent Millay

Biography

Throughout much of her career, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the most successful and respected poets in America. She is noted for both her dramatic works, including Aria da capo, The Lamp and the Bell, and the libretto composed for an opera, The King’s Henchman, and for such lyric verses as “Renascence” and the poems found in the collections A Few Figs From Thistles, Second April, and The Ballad of the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Love, Romantic Love, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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