Heavy the waxwings hang upon the bough, A gospel dozen, sharing summer fruits, The pyrocanthus touched with winter snow, Alive with yellow-banded crested suits. There is no solitary prophet here, Spying the setting, ranking lesser wings; They come in droves, in droves they disappear, Unlike the dove, alone no waxwing sings. Of course the birds are metaphor to me, The waxing congregation sharing all; The dove, I think, practices poetry, Solitary, an “individual.” Is it perverse to sing a lonely song, When love prescribes the place where we belong?
While I know no poem in the language greater than Gerard Manley Hopkins's "The Wreck of the Deutschland," and confess a supremely warm spot for Joyce Kilmer's cozy but forgotten "The 12:45," a favorite is this sonnet by Millay from her collection Fatal Interview.
Now by the path I climbed, I journey back. The oaks have grown; I have been long away. Taking with me your memory and your lack I now descend into a milder day; Stripped of your love, unburdened of my hope, Descend the path I mounted from the plain; Yet steeper than I fancied seems the slope And stonier, now that I go down again. Warm falls the dusk; the clanking of the bell Faintly ascends upon this heavier air; I do recall those grassy pastures well: In early spring they drove the cattle there. And close at hand should be a shelter, too, From which the mountain peaks are not in view.