st poetry

A Valentines Day sentiment that transcends the decades: this 1988 painting by Andrew Masullo is made on a found panel and features an excerpt from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” written in 1920. 

[Andrew Masullo (b. 1957), 1918, 1988. Oil on found wood, 17 7/8 × 15 1/16in. (45.4 × 38.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.23. © Andrew Masullo]

Sonnet XLIII

by 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 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.

The Rainbow Comforter

Your lips outline
A white rainbow
The same curve inverted
As black arcs below my eyes
Together we blend 

Gray

I’ve seen your smile
Upside down
In the sky
When the sun stabs
The prism of your eyes
You don’t break
You paint
A masterpiece

Weave these pigments
Over me
I’ll bury myself
In your misty
Multicolored sheets
Hidden at the end
Of your rainbow smile
You’ll find me

Finally
I sleep

Late Have I Loved You

- by St Augustine

Late have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you! Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong,
I, misshapen.You were with me but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being
were they not in you.You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance,
I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.