Guest poem submitted by Jose de Abreu:
(Poem #590) 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.
I'm truly indebted to the minstrels for introducing me to the works of Edna St Vincent Millay. I like her poems for their sweet and simple nature, with often a tinge of sorrow; and today's poem is no exception. Jose. [thomas adds] On content: While I don't _quite_ share Martin's (and Jose's, evidently) fondness for Millay, I do like this poem: images like 'the lonely tree' and 'the rain ... full of ghosts' are utterly enchanting. Perhaps it has something to do with the time of year - Millay's gentle melancholy slots perfectly into a cold and rainy October like the one we're having right now. On form: Today's sonnet is cast in the classic Petrarchan form, of which Britannica has this to say: "The Petrarchan sonnet characteristically treats its theme in two parts. The first eight lines, the octave, state a problem, ask a question, or express an emotional tension. The last six lines, the sestet, resolve the problem, answer the question, or relieve the tension. The octave is rhymed abbaabba. The rhyme scheme of the sestet varies; it may be cdecde, cdccdc, or cdedce ... In most cases the form [is] adapted to the staple metre of the language--e.g., the alexandrine (12-syllable iambic line) in France and iambic pentameter in English." -- EB Although I wouldn't call the sestet of today's poem a resolution, it certainly betokens a quietude that's absent in the octave... thomas.