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E E Cummings
Anyone lived in a pretty how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town

(with up so floating many bells down)

spring summer autumn winter

he sang his didn't he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)

cared for anyone not at all

they sowed their isn't they reaped their same

sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few

and down they forgot as up they grew

autumn winter spring summer)

that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf

she laughed his joy she cried his grief

bird by snow and stir by still

anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones

laughed their cryings and did their dance

(sleep wake hope and then)they

said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon

(and only the snow can begin to explain

how children are apt to forget to remember

with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess

(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

busy folk buried them side by side

little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep

and more by more they dream their sleep

noone and anyone earth by april

wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)

summer autumn winter spring

reaped their sowing and went their came

sun moon stars rain

up into the silence the green

up into the silence the green

silence with a white earth in it

you will (kiss me) go

out into the morning the young

morning with a warm world in it

(kiss me) you will go

on into the sunlight the fine

sunlight with a firm day in it

you will go (kiss me

down into your memory and

a memory and memory

i) kiss me (will go)

once like a spark

(once like a spark)

if strangers meet

life begins-

not poor not rich

(only aware)

kind neither

nor cruel

(only complete)

i not not you

not possible;

only truthful


if strangers(who

deep our most are



(and so to dark)

E. E. Cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings was a poet who stood in stark constrast of style than poets of his day. His poetry rejected most rules of English grammar and syntax. Cummings modernism and experimental style culminated in his radical poetic language. Cummings used several reoccuring themes in his works. These include the celebration of individualism, love and the essence of spring. This artistic experamentalism can be synthesized out of his trancendental ideas. In analyzing his poetry it is necessary to outline the basics of Cummings quirky style. Before all else, his poems must be read a first time to grasp the topography. This means to read and figure out where specific words are placed, and their meaning in that position. Cummings, in his own eccentric way, would use this positioning in conjuction with other grammatical idiosyncrisies to express himself. These other quirks would include using desired capitalization rather than when appropriate, incorrect use of parenthesis and other puncuation, as well as incorrect use of grammar. In the analysis of the poems, Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town , Once like a Spark , Up into the Silence the Green as well as any other of Cummings poems, it necessary to remember that he is best understood when approached on his own terms. In trying to understand meaning in his work it is necessary to avoid simple linguistic interpretation and focus on what the deeper meaning is.

In Once Like a Spark , he uses the charcters and calls them strangers. While using this name he is in fact stating certain things. Firstly, he is addressing the theme. This theme is corralated in Cummings trancendental view that only through experience are people aware of things around them. In lines 2-5 it reads, If strangers meet - life begins - not poor not rich - (only aware) . The stangers are the only people who are aware of themsleves. They know who they are and have purpose, but are strangers to those who look at them. The poem at its center is about breaking out of routine and becoming an individual. This is stressed throughout the entire poem. Cummings uses the following phrases for emphasis on his theme, Only aware , Only complete , Only truthful . He is stating only these people who have become strangers to the collective have truly attained their humanity. Although the piece does not have a title, the first line, once like a spark , has to do with the attaining of indiviudalism. It s a spark of knowlegde, of greatness, and of love that helps us attain our position in life. The last line, in my opinion, has to do with with the ignoring of this spark. And so to dark , seems like a punishment and chastizing. It is the loss of self, and entrance into the collective. There is one phrase that truly encapsulates this poems message, strangers(who deep are most are selves) .

Cummings poem, Up into the silence the green , has no clear message. Its purpose is a glimmer of inspiration in words. It is a plee of humility before nature and the deity that it truly is. He is most deeply painting the picture of the day for your mind. The green silence , although not a true description of something tangeble, does force you you to think fondly upon silence. This is also true of similar phrases, white earth , fine sunlight , warm world . His description is obviously one of a spring day. What is truly interesting about this poem is the levels in it. Although it is one complete poem, it is actually comprised of three levels. The first is the afformentioned description of day. This is the most literal and easy to point out. The second is the series of phrases in parenthesis, (Kiss me) . These offer a whisper into the connection of this poems insights about love. This second element feeds into the third. In every third line the phrase, you will go , is present.Cummings connects these two opposing thoughts in the last line;

You will go (kiss me

Down into your memory and

A memory and memory

i) kiss me (will go)

The way these two phrases connect is absolutley amazing and showcase the raw talent and versatilty of Cummings.

The poem, Anyone in a Pretty How Town , tells of anyone , an individual different from the masses and therefore is disrespected in life and in death. What makes this poem interesting is the subtlety and ingenuity with which Cummings tells the story. Even the proper names, the individuals being anyone and noone and the collective being someones and everyones , contain multilple meanings. Anyone is used used, ironically, to represent someone who isn t just anyone. The indiviuals in this poem embody Cummings ideals of spontaneity and positivity. They are the only people capable of emotion in their little how town. Noone is truly concerned with anyones life. She laughed in his joys she cried in his grief shows how she loved him, whereas the townspeople cared nothing for him as seen in the line, laughed their cryings . This poem is the exhaulting of those capable of ignoring the condemnation of the collective in order to preserve their soul. This poem is also condemning the idifferent people who have succumbed to the humdrum of routine. While the individuals are the lover s, the someones and everyones remain the faceless peole. They act only in a collective and therefore they lose their indentity. Through the phrase, Women and men cared for anyone not all , the masses can be seen not to care about anyone, the protagonist, and they don t care about anybody at all. This is due to their inability to know love. It is very interesting that when referring to anyone and noone love is the selective word, while when referring to everyones, marriage is used instead. This is Cummings view that marriage exists within the coolective and therfore exists without love. This poem though mostly reflects on a situation also offers some sentiment about change. But however it is change that cannot occur. They slept their dream , is saying that even though thay have dreams thay will never occur because they cannot understand their existence. Dream their sleep , refers to anyone and noone, and the individuals ability to catch hold of their dreams. This poem has Cummings ideals shining through his work. A person who knows themselves well can aspire and succeed as long as they remember the innocence and individuality that was bestowed upon them in creation.

E. E. Cummings worked beyond simple linguistic limitations. If nothing else, he expressed himself to the fullest and in doing so, is an inspiration to us all. Perhaps the biggest draw to his poetry is the mystery. His poetry can be viewed as nonsense and maybe rightfully so with such obstacles in understanding.

But I believe his radical style to be the attraction. Maybe everything in this world was not meant to be rationally understood.
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