Poetry as Inspiration

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writing Exercise – read a poem, then just free associate on its themes and imagery.

Original Poem:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)
by 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
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Lips and Kisses

By Elizabeth Cutright

 © 2012 The Daily Creative Writer

(Inspired by What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and where, and why by Edna St. Vincent Millay)

What lips my lips have kissed.  There’ve been some great lip and some bad lips, and some in between lips.  Some forgotten lips and some desired lips, and lots of lips that never seemed able to deliver what they promised

Of course the ones you remember most are the lips your lips were aching to kiss and dying to kiss.  Sometimes those lips ended up being nothing more than someone else’s lips.  But there are those few…those golden few….who transcend. Who are so much more than just lips. They’re attached to a whole person and then when your lips kiss those lips, it’s as if your whole person kissed their whole person.  That’s when you get what you’ve been promised, and it’s so much more than just a “rose garden.” It’s a rose field…no…it’s a rose bowl….it’s the fucking rose parade.  Those lips are academy award winning lips.  They’re super lotto, find a 20-dollar-bill on the street kind of lips.  They are firework starting lips, that sparkle and crackle and light up the sky.

Ahhh…but sometimes those lips can have a faulty fuse, like the illegal fireworks your friend picks up at a road side stand.  You know the ones, you light them but they just sit there…dormant… secretive…waiting for you to come and scoop them up.  And you’re never sure – because their silence is so sinister – if they’ll chose just that moment when you touch them to explode.  You can lose a whole hand – or heart – that way.   I’m telling you, there’s more of a danger in those dud fireworks than the flashy, showy pinwheels that come on hard but fizzle out.  No, no…beware the dormant lips…they can maim and they can scar.

And then there are the windstorm lips.  Those rushing, windy, whisper lips that breeze through the trees.  They envelope you, leave you feeling drugged and drunk and shaky.  But that crashing, fizzy sound of the ocean swirling and foaming over sandy shore can drown out the warning bells.  Those lips can stalk a treacherous coastline and make you the victim of your own siren song.

But the worst…the absolute worst….are those lips that go quiet and cold. Who knew the absence of sound could cut so deep? Who knew those lips that once my lips kissed could turn into silent little time bombs. The most lethal of all lips.

Except that’s not quite true.  Because the warm lips.  The true lips.  Those smiling, embracing, bear-hugging kind of lips…those cooling, soothing lips.  Those heating, feeling, toe-to-eyebrow kind of lips.  Those lips kill are ninja lips.  They super-spy, hero-cape kind of lips. Those lips can be a cradle and a beacon.  They can lift you up and catch you when you fall.  They make your lips aspire to greatness.  They are the wonder and the spirit and the truth of life.

Those lips are the best lips of all.

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