(a "last words" sonnet)
I cannot sleep tonight, and you know why.
You know how many weary hours I've lain
upon my bed and listened to the rain
lashing the window, and the mournful sigh
the wind makes. You have heard mine in reply.
I know you know the reason for my pain.
I know you know why, over and again,
I've wept out loud. I know you saw me cry
as I remembered carving on that tree
your name and mine. You were the only one
I needed then. You know, just as before,
how much I need you yet, but you have gone.
Only your spirit now still lives in me,
and I can never hope for any more.
The last word from each line of a published poem is used here as the last word in the corresponding line of a new one. This one is based on a well-known sonnet 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.