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

All lost, all forgotten.
-The Voice before the Void

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

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 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.

“Song of a Second April” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Springtime Special:
Gone and gone for evermore.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Song of a Second April”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

April this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago,
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Of dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
In orchards near and far away
The grey wood-pecker taps and bores;
The men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep,
Noisy and swift the small brooks run.
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun,
Pensively, —only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.

“Winter Night” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Winter Special:
To those of us who have lived in cabins, in woods, in winter, and to those of us who haven’t.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Winter Night”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Pile high the hickory and the light
Log of chestnut struck by the blight.
Welcome-in the winter night.

The day has gone in hewing and felling,
Sawing and drawing wood to the dwelling
For the night of talk and story-telling. Continue reading

“As to some lovely temple, tenantless” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sensual, macabre: a love poem as you’d expect from Millay.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“As to some lovely temple, tenantless”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

As to some lovely temple, tenantless
Long since, that once was sweet with shivering brass,
Knowing well its altars ruined and the grass
Grown up between the stones, yet from excess
Of grief hard driven, or great loneliness,
The worshiper returns, and those who pass
Marvel him crying on a name that was, —
So is it now with me in my distress.
Your body was a temple to Delight;
Cold are its ashes whence the breath is fled,
Yet here one time your spirit was wont to move;
Here might I hope to find you day or night,
And here I come to look for you, my love,
Even now, foolishly, knowing you are dead.

“The Poet and His Book” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The poet’s dream of immortality through his words: Millay both extols and mocks it.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Poet and His Book”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Down, you mongrel, Death!
Back into your kennel!
I have stolen breath
In a stalk of fennel!
You shall scratch and you shall whine
Many a night, and you shall worry
Many a bone, before you bury
One sweet bone of mine! Continue reading