Homework Help

What is the premise of "since feeling is first" by e.e. cummings?

user profile pic

mlc1995 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM via web

dislike 2 like

What is the premise of "since feeling is first" by e.e. cummings?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

This love poem poetizes the dichotomy of feeling vs. thinking.  The narrator is saying that the feeling, the impulse to kiss, is stronger and more valuable than the “decision” to kiss – the thinking of whether the time is right, the sequence of social events (“the syntax”) or the other mental calculations (“the best gesture of my brain”); the narrator is speaking his own thoughts at the moment of “making his move” (to use the popular vernacular).  The final lines are perfect examples of Cumming’s use of grammar and language metaphors to express the connection (or in this case the non-connection) between emotion and expression.  He says that life, unlike organized essays or logical argument (“paragraph”), is not a thought-out construction but is lived in the moment.  He adds that death (and birth) are not enclosing logical events (in “parentheses”), but spontaneous utterances of the moment.  This short poem is a modern version of a “carpe diem” poem, “seize the day.”  (Final note: There is much controversy whether to capitalize his name.  He, of course, did not.)

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes