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What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why (Sonnet XLIII) Analysis



Author: poem of Edna St. Vincent Millay Type: poem Views: 10


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.

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




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This poem is very meaningful and very good it is about age and life

| Posted on 2014-03-04 | by a guest


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The poem is about age and remembering it is very good and meaningful

| Posted on 2014-03-04 | by a guest


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Leonard Bernstein set this most poignant poem to poignant music in "Songfest" (1977).

| Posted on 2013-11-04 | by a guest


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This poem can be interpreted in many ways... The way I saw it is that the poet (Edna St. Vincent Millay in this case) is looking at her life, feeling guilty for being a \"player\". She sees that she was not being moral, but knows that she couldn\'t help it and is now desperate for attention. The fact that she is lonely like a tree standing alone in winter could reflect that people look at her like they see trash. She is now paying the price of having many lovers.

| Posted on 2013-02-08 | by a guest


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I think the narrator is not regretting her past, but regretting that that part of her life has passed. When she says \"I have forgotten,\" it is not because she can\'t actually remember them, but that her youth and the men/people in it are long gone. She obviously longs for her youth because her heart aches at the memories. The winter tree is symbolic of death (winter) summer (life and youth) no longer lives in her.

| Posted on 2011-04-19 | by a guest


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The poem was written in 1923, 5 years after the end of World War I, where a generation of young men died. The writer was 30 or 31 when she published this. I tend to look at this as perhaps written to some of the beaux from her youth who died in the trenches, or maybe she\'s adopting the narrative voice of someone who has experienced this.

| Posted on 2011-04-11 | by a guest


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I interpret it as a woman who has found all attempts at connecting to someone else at the soul level sadly wanting, so what is left is the physical gestures of the hopes she had: the lips, the arms. She speaks of them as disembodied symbols and there is no need to be specific about who they belonged to. The metaphor is the lonely tree standing alone in the dormant winter, knowing that the birds she held in her branches in the most vibrant time of life are absent. The last line is both a fond remembrance and a goodbye. She acknowledges connectedness by its absence.

| Posted on 2010-08-12 | by a guest


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This poem inspired me, I got the vibe that maybe she was writing a letter to somebody that she never planned to send. Just an appology to somebody she lost because of her choices that she was too shy to send.

| Posted on 2010-05-02 | by a guest


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i THINK THAT THIS POEM IS VERY MEANINGFL YET WRITTEN WITH GREAT SORROW BECAUSE OF THE HARD TIME SHE WAS GOING THROUGH

| Posted on 2010-04-28 | by a guest


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this poem is very very good it show how she was loved but now she is alone

| Posted on 2010-04-02 | by a guest


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Millay is NOT remembering her lovers, only that she had them. She's remembering that she wasn't alone, even if she cannot recall those who kept her company.
And now, she is alone, like the tree.

| Posted on 2010-03-11 | by a guest


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i belive she has gotten old and wrinkly and is in a state of loneliness..she also might have just been having a gap in her love life...as everyone else does she may be depressed and hasnt had a "lover" around in a while and is lookinig back on her past lovers and cannot recall their character and affection for it was such a long time ago...

| Posted on 2010-02-23 | by a guest


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This poem is about age, experience and relfection. It is not about lovers. It is metaphorical and abstract.

| Posted on 2009-12-02 | by a guest


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this poem is so eloquent yet sad. what once caused joy now causes pain.

| Posted on 2009-11-04 | by a guest


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This peom inspired me to go out and make babies with women. Global warming is tearing apart the earth we need a solution. please help mother earth she needs you. For more information on helping earth, touch the grass and talk to the trees. They will tell you what you desire to know.

| Posted on 2009-04-21 | by a guest


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This poem literally made my day. good wow. so good. so shiny, yeah nice and shiny. Is that shiny over there? yeah i like shiny.

| Posted on 2009-04-21 | by a guest


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This poem is saying that the narrator has forgotten who her past lovers were. She only remebors the bodies. She remembors arms under her head for example. She is thinking about the past on a rainy night. She compares the rain to her memories. It is reminding her of forgotten lovers. She then compares herself to a tree in winter. The tree is alone and the birds are gone that used to perch in it. She is also alone and has lost the lovers who used to come to her. She says that once she was in summer. She was surrounded by lovers and misses that time. She has probably gotten older and cannot attract the one night stands that she used to. This poem has a whistful tone and is about rememboring a promiscuous past that has come and gone.

| Posted on 2008-12-01 | by a guest


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Abstract
In this article, the writer studies the sonnet "What Lips My Lips have Kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The writer describes that in this sonnet, the poet is lying alone on a rainy night and looking back on her life. The writer explains that she is remembering the nights when she was not alone and the men that she has had in her life. The writer demonstrates that in doing so, the poet recognizes her own loneliness. Further, the writer points out that the end result is a poem of regret that indicates that the woman's choices have forced her into a lonely life from which she now cannot escape. The writer concludes that the message of the poem is that physical relationships fade and ultimately leave one feeling empty.
From the Paper
"In the first line, the poet introduces the subject of the poem. She describes herself thinking back on the lips that she has kissed. There is an immediate sense that the poet is alone and lonely. She is thinking back on connections she has had with other people, but it also seems like she has forgotten these people. This is seen by the way she does not describe the people that she has kissed, but the lips that she has kissed. The fact that she describes her lips kissing others and not herself kissing others also suggests that she is not emotionally connected to these people. This is also seen by the way she notes that she has forgotten where she kissed the lips or why. She then moves and mentions the arms that have lain under her head until morning. Again, she is describing body parts rather than people. This emphasizes that she has forgotten the people and the relationships that occurred."

| Posted on 2008-10-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Abstract
In this article, the writer studies the sonnet "What Lips My Lips have Kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The writer describes that in this sonnet, the poet is lying alone on a rainy night and looking back on her life. The writer explains that she is remembering the nights when she was not alone and the men that she has had in her life. The writer demonstrates that in doing so, the poet recognizes her own loneliness. Further, the writer points out that the end result is a poem of regret that indicates that the woman's choices have forced her into a lonely life from which she now cannot escape. The writer concludes that the message of the poem is that physical relationships fade and ultimately leave one feeling empty.
From the Paper
"In the first line, the poet introduces the subject of the poem. She describes herself thinking back on the lips that she has kissed. There is an immediate sense that the poet is alone and lonely. She is thinking back on connections she has had with other people, but it also seems like she has forgotten these people. This is seen by the way she does not describe the people that she has kissed, but the lips that she has kissed. The fact that she describes her lips kissing others and not herself kissing others also suggests that she is not emotionally connected to these people. This is also seen by the way she notes that she has forgotten where she kissed the lips or why. She then moves and mentions the arms that have lain under her head until morning. Again, she is describing body parts rather than people. This emphasizes that she has forgotten the people and the relationships that occurred."

| Posted on 2008-10-14 | by a guest




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