Edna St. Vincent Millay

(22 February 1892 – 19 October 1950 / Rockland / Maine / United States)

Sonnets (1923)


VIII8.
Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
.
Give back my book and take my kiss instead.
.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard,
.
"What a big book for such a little head!"
.
Come, I will show you now my newest hat,
.
And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!
.
Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
.
I never again shall tell you what I think.
.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly;
.

You will not catch me reading any more:
.

I shall be called a wife to pattern by;
.

And some day when you knock and push the door,
.

Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
.

I shall be gone, and you may whistle for me. IX9.
Here is a wound that never will heal, I know,
.
Being wrought not of a dearness and a death,
.
But of a love turned ashes and the breath
.
Gone out of beauty; never again will grow
.
The grass on that scarred acre, though I sow
.
Young seed there yearly and the sky bequeath
.
Its friendly weathers down, far underneath
.
Shall be such bitterness of an old woe.
.
That April should be shattered by a gust,
.

That August should be levelled by a rain,
.

I can endure, and that the lifted dust
.

Of man should settle to the earth again;
.

But that a dream can die, will be a thrust
.

Between my ribs forever of hot pain. XVIII18.
I, being born a woman and distressed
.
By all the needs and notions of my kind,
.
Am urged by your propinquity to find
.
Your person fair, and feel a certain zest
.
To bear your body's weight upon my breast:
.
So subtly is the fume of life designed,
.
To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
.
And leave me once again undone, possessed.
.
Think not for this, however, the poor treason
.

Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
.

I shall remember you with love, or season
.

My scorn with pity, -- let me make it plain:
.

I find this frenzy insufficient reason
.

For conversation when we meet again. XIX19.
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 to-night, 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.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Read poems about / on: august, april, rain, sorry, pain, lonely, winter, woman, kiss, summer, remember, tree, friend, beauty, dream, sky, death, women, wind

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