Edna St. Vincent Millay

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

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why (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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why (Sonnet XLIII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay )

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  • Rookie - 6 Points Rajesh Majumdar (9/14/2014 3:53:00 AM)

    The line Thus in winter..... seems to be a syllable short (9) . It doesn't seem to affect the reading and I cannot indestand why. All the other lines have 10 syllables. (Report) Reply

    Freshman - 1,519 Points Eric Ericson (11/20/2014 2:57:00 AM)

    I believe it is the pause at the end of the line that makes nine syllables act like ten

    Rookie - 6 Points Rajesh Majumdar (9/15/2014 3:02:00 AM)

    typo indestand =] understand

  • Rookie - 0 Points Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 4:12:00 PM)

    One of my absolute favorites as it recalls to mind my own many lovers of my past. A poem only a woman could write so perfectly and be so greatly understood by women everywhere. Truly one of the poets fines writes! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Marcia Morris (7/10/2007 12:48:00 AM)

    This poet shows great imagery in her writing....such emotions penned here. Love this piece (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jasmine Longoria (12/20/2006 1:35:00 AM)

    You can feel the desolation in the words especially those few last lines
    Such emptyness
    It's quite lovely and sad at the same time (Report) Reply

  • Rookie David Hickey (2/2/2006 8:41:00 PM)

    definately one of the best poems i have ever read....stunning and so well written.
    magical and moving to say the least. i cant get over it and is still relevant to todays sexually free society. BRILLIANT (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Marcella Gilligan (11/8/2005 1:13:00 PM)

    I loved this poem it evoked very powerful memories for me. I particularly enjoyed the way the poet used the analogy with the birds visiting the trees. I felt the poem was written from a womans view point and that I loved. (Report) Reply

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