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What Lips My Lips

Have Kissed, And Where, And Why Written by: Edna St. Vincent Millay

NOTE: This project is in fulfillment of an English 11 course at the University of the Philippines Diliman. No copyright infringement is intended.

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What Lips My Lips

Have Kissed, And Where, And Why

Written by: Edna St. Vincent Millay

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why Edna St. Vincent Millay

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







OCTAVE This has a rythmic pattern of abbaabba. Here, the narrator expresses her feelings for her lovers as she tries to reminisce the times she was with them.

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This has a rythmic pattern of cdedce. The narrator expresses the same feelings from the octave here.



SONNET This is an example of an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet, composed of 14 lines broken into two stanzas, an octave and a sextet.

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The narrator is past her youth as she reminisces about her countless lovers. By distinctly saying that her lips have kissed others’ lips, tells us that she is emotionally detached from her lovers.

The narrator’s separation of her emotions from her ‘love affairs’ is repeated throughout the poem as she repeats that she has forgotten about her lovers.

Because of the author’s known sexual liberation, it is difficult to tell whether the narrator is the author herself or a persona or character created by the author.

This sonnet is considered to be both traditional and untraditional at the same time. It features the many lovers lost by the narrator, instead of one which is the typical topic of a sonnet.

The use of the metaphor of the tree in the sextet provides an image of the narrator’s loneliness.

The use of changing seasons, winter and summer, provides grounds for comparison of the narrator’s current state and her life in her youth. It reiterates the differences in her life now and then.

The sonnet is written in a form that showcases the narrator’s own feelings and experiences which allow the audience to connect or relate these to their own feelings and experiences.

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A requirement in fulfillment of English 11 THW3 under Ms. Kristine Reynaldo. Rona Daliuag Student

English 11 Final Project