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This poem is at the zenith of Cummings’ experimenting with the “unsaid,” the intuitive, suggestive, elusive element of language’s unspoken connotation. Far from paraphrasing the poem’s “meaning,” the reader is invited to consider all change, all inconsistency, all mobility in our lives (here represented by natural ebbs and flows in Nature) as the variations that give Life its value. Lines like “screaming hills with sleet and snow” coupled with “blow pity to envy and soul to mind” give a personification to the forces of nature, and lend a solidity to images of change in human life – the subtle suggestions about death and rebirth, together with the seasons’ changes (“ it’s they shall cry hello to spring”). The central observation is “what if” –that is “so what if our lives move forward by bumps and hesitations; so does Nature.” Stanza by stanza, the poem moves from comparing Man’s complexity to Nature’s changes; the second stanza emphasizes the rebirth, renewal of Nature; the third stanza challenges the finality of death, and reconciles the “nothing” with the universe’s resistance to the notion of finality of our own life.
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