Edna St. Vincent Millay 's What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where

1500 Words Oct 19th, 2016 6 Pages
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)” explores the tragedy of inevitable loneliness. Much of poetry is considered self expression, and with that notion in mind, and for the sake of this analysis, I will assume that Millay is documenting her own feeling or experience even though it is definitely in the realm of possibility that Millay is speaking from the point of view of an third-party character or separate persona. “Sonnet XLIII” divulges a moment frozen in time of a dismal, pained mother trapped in the snare of nostalgia, reminiscing her children’s company. Initiating the sonnet, Millay synecdochally utilizes abstract body parts to hint at a much more larger idea. For example, Millay poses the question, “what lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, / I have forgotten...” (1-2). Kisses are shared with those that we love and we can safely assume that the lips represent and belong to lovers of the author; With this in mind, the author is conceding that they have had multiple lovers. She also mentions ‘lips’ twice in the first line. This repetition creates emphasis and cries to the reader that something is important within the line. In this case, Millay donates insight to the reader that she has various intimate experiences with different admirers. In addition, Millay continues to mention that “[she has] forgotten...what arms have lain / under [her] head till morning...” (2-3) which essentially means she has been…

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