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In Just- -- e e cummings

Guest poem submitted by Kamalika Chowdhury :
(Poem #1635) In Just-
 in Just-
 spring       when the world is mud-
 luscious the little
 lame balloonman

 whistles       far       and wee

 and eddieandbill come
 running from marbles and
 piracies and it's
 spring

 when the world is puddle-wonderful

 the queer
 old balloonman whistles
 far       and       wee
 and bettyandisbel come dancing

 from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

 it's
 spring
 and
     the

             goat-footed

 balloonMan       whistles
 far
 and
 wee
-- e e cummings
The Minstrels has a fair representation of Edward Estlin Cummings' work. I
can't add much to what has been variously said about the unique blend of
playful lyric, roller-coaster rhythm and the underlying wondrous melody that
spells Cummings. However, I think this poem deserves a mention, if only for
the world of innocence and sheer magic it effortlessly conjures. It's like
tumbling down the rabbit hole into a "mud-luscious", "puddle-wonderful"
spring.

IMHO, this poem showcases some of the artist's most tangible uses of tone
and space. Note the eye-catching momentum of the "goat-footed balloonMan".
Its just as easy to see bubbles stretch in liquid, drawn-out vowels, hear
the fading resonance of the whistle's "wee" and feel the "spring" when
"bettyanddisbel come dancing".

I have always felt that Cummings cannot be read at one go; his poetry always
demands at least a second-look. One reads the poem to absorb its flow, and
then again to spot its cleverly disguised nooks and crevices. In typical
Cummings style, even within the child-like naiveté of "In Just-", there are
shadows - nuances of transience, poignancy, perhaps loss. Interpretations
ranging from lurking evil (à la balloonman) to a permeating sense of regret
have been propounded. But to my perspective, the poem reads as a sort of
far-away, dreamy farewell to carefree just-spring.

Regards,
Kamalika.

[Minstrels Links]

e. e. cummings:
Poem #56, pity this busy monster, manunkind
Poem #139, Buffalo Bill's/ defunct
Poem #214, Where's Madge then,
Poem #311, Untitled
Poem #454, If I have made, my lady, intricate
Poem #492, Poem 42
Poem #619, somewhere i have never travelled
Poem #769, what if a much of a which of a wind
Poem #945, O sweet spontaneous
Poem #1072, next to of course god america I
Poem #1132, if everything happens that can't be done
Poem #1260, anyone lived in a pretty how town
Poem #1536, All in green went my love riding
Poem #1581, Little Tree
Poem #1628, suppose

55 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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I could never enjoy e. e. cummings. It doesn't seem like effective construction so much as barrier-breaking for its own sake.

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