Analysis of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” In the 1923 sonnet, “What lips my lips have kissed,” Edna St. Vincent Millay speaks about several loves coming to an end and the emotion its gives her while she reminiscences through her past. Two major themes ot this sonnet are change and loss. The theme loss Is throughout the entire sonnet. Some parts of this sonnet are traditional while other parts are untraditional. This Is a modern Italian sonnet The speaker looks back on her younger days and feels pain and a sense of loss.

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The poet ompares her lost lovers to ghosts in the octave, and the sestet would be the summer birds and passing of time. I think that Millay the poet Is describing her own life experiences with her lost lovers. I think Millay used “what lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why’ for the first sentence was to give the subject matter of the poem. Millay really wanted to clearly tell us that this poem Is special to her and she remembers the kissing of many men she once loved. In the first line Millay states she has forgotten. I think Millay loved many men and has forgotten their faces but remembers their lips and the love she felt.

In the second and third lines, Millay pictures young men’s arms that have held her all night: “what arms have lain under my head till morning. ” Millay does not speak about the men’s faces or their smell as women usually do when they are in love with someone. In the fourth and fifth line Millay imagines the tapping of the rain on the window as a symbol of the men trying to be with her again. “Is full of ghosts tonight that tap and sigh” means she is comparing her forgotten lovers to ghosts because ghosts are memories. In the sixth, seventh and eighth lines Millay shows herself as lonely and sad.

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