Analysis Of What My Lips Have Kissed

979 Words4 Pages
The first poem I am going to be analyzing is What My Lips Have Kissed, a sonnet written in the 1920’s. This poem is about numerous loves approaching a close, and the tribulations brought about by said conclusion. The main theme in the sonnet is focused on the transition that occurs in the Millay’s life; such as, the seasons changing. Edna St. Vincent Millay uses the difference between summer and winter to represent the utter contrast she goes through. Millay uses summer to correlate with a period of contentment, brightness, and affection; however, winter is used to correlate with monotonous, misery, and an emptiness. The changes in the seasons mirror the emotional state of the central figure of the narrative before and after the ménage à trois.…show more content…
“Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, yet knows its boughs more silent than before”. Millay, more or less, indicates that she is the “lonely tree” and that she has solitarily endured summer and winter, while lovers, affection, and cheerful experiences have come and gone. Essentially, Millay conveys the heartache she feels using a leafless tree in the midst of winter to that formerly had ample with birds singing in harmony, which symbolize the pure enjoyment that once was. There are a few more literary devices used in Millay’s sonnet; such as, alliteration in line one with the w’s and the i’s: “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why”. There is also imagery; for example, “And in heart there stirs a quiet pain” or “I only know that summer sang in me”. Another literary device used is symbolism, for example birds being used as a symbol for the many lovers. Millay also uses metaphors to be able to highlight upon her state of mind, such as “Thus the winter stand the lonely tree”. Although, personification seems to be Millay’s distinct literary
Open Document