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edna st vincent millay

Explain the poets use of the winter and summer in "What lips my lips have kissed" by Millay.


The winter theme is picked up fairly early in the poem 'What lips my lips have kissed' by Edna Millay, with the discussion of the weather which we feel is just outside the poet's window: 'the rain is full of ghosts tonight.' We may pick up that the voices are ghosts from loves the poet once knewa long time ago, and therefore the rain is associated with present sorrow and sense of loss - even bereavement. The tapping of the window puts us in mind of wind, which again suggests that this is winter and suggests the presence of the twigs of a tree growing quite close to the house. This presence is then picked up in the next line 'thus in winter stands the lonely tree' where the poet's friends/loves from the past are likened to the leaves that have blown off the tree one by one. Compared to the evocation of winter, summer is given much briefer treatment,but poetic all the same 'summer sang in me' - this shows that the writer sees herself as barren and unproductive now that she expresses the song of summer no more. Compare with the poetry of Emily Bronte?

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