My first poetic love was Edna St. Vincent Millay. I met her when stationed at a small Army post in Germany; I lay on my cot and smoked and read her hour after hour. I even learned to punctuate properly by studying her lyrics and sonnets. I was faithful to her for a couple decades. Then came a mid-life crisis (it must have been) and I fell in with a much younger woman, Sylvia Plath. Now, being just about as mature as I'm going to get, I return over and over and over to Edna. I'm so sorry that I -- swayed perhaps by the drama of suicide -- two-timed her.
Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that's permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish -- and men do --
I shall have only good to say of you.