It is a common reaction by all readers of Cummings that to analyze his works is a sacrilege. But for academic reasons, I have attempted to break down this already-audible poem to better understand Cummings’ brilliant command for words and images.
The first line, and also the title depicts the poet’s condition with regards to this particular poem and all the feelings that he aims to convey to his muse and to his readers. “Somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond any experience…” describes the poet’s inexperience with respect to his feelings towards his muse, as if he is in a place that he has never gone before. In this same stanza, Cummings describes how his muse affects him tremendously without much effort from her as seen in the third line of the first stanza. The last line of the same stanza however, describes the fragile situation they are in and perhaps this line reveals Cummings’ difficulty in expressing his love for his muse.
By the use of several tools of imagery, Cummings was able to depict the power of the muse over the poet, how she could easily open and close the doors of his emotions. And even with Cummings’ futile resistance, the muse is able to skillfully open and close him without even trying.
Cummings ultimately surrendered in the third stanza by stating that upon the wish of his muse he would stop and cease himself from expressing and finally disappear. The third stanza is the peak of Cummings’ declaration of unconditional love, despite the intensity of his love and despite his fear (compared to the rose’s fear of death), he was willing to sacrifice what he truly feels if that is his muse’s desire.
Finally in the last stanza, Cummings considered his felling towards the muse as a mystery; in the same manner, that love for him is a mystery. That he could never explain the woman’s effect on him and that no matter how hard he tries to compare the woman, his feelings and the situation to the world’s mysteries and beauty… he knows that he still will not be able to define or more so explain it. The last and final line of this poem described with great precision, how the girl can penetrate his deepest feelings when he created a parallel contrast with the inability of the rain to sip through the core of a rose bud.
In general, the flower or the rose that the poem speaks of is the poet himself or the feelings of the poet and how the muse has the power to open and close this symbolic rose upon her wishes.
After reading Cummings through this particular poem, it is but natural to say that he is effective in employing his skills and mastery of imagery. It is a love poem but unlike many love poems, Cummings gently sprinkled his poem with images while the poem gently oozed with sentimentality and intense feelings. And not only did he utilize the present existing metaphors and imagery but he also invented his own images as seen in “your eyes have their silence” which is deviant of the traditional imagery, “your eyes speak…” or any depiction of the eyes as means to communicate. Also in third and fourth line of the third stanza, where Cummings described fear. It is an effective poem because Cummings was able to get his message across using a manner cognitive of beauty and literary esthetics. He was capable of describing the intensity as well as the fragility of love… its mysteries by inventing and reinventing metaphors, similes and personifications.
Cummings once again led us into his world of images and allowed to us to explore the simplicity of his words and the complexities they represent through the most crucial and most sensitive of all metaphors; love and man.
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