Study Guide

somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond

by e. e. cummings

somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond Themes

Themes

Love
It is very clear from the beginning that this poem is a love poem about the poet’s beloved. Although the language is cryptic at first, as it is in many of cummings’s poems, in the second line of the poem he identifies the subject of the poem by saying, “your eyes have their silence.” A poet’s reference to the eyes of his beloved is an age-old tradition. The eyes are commonly thought to be the windows into a person’s soul, and much love poetry has been written about eyes. Cummings continues his profession of love and underscores the power of his beloved’s eyes by noting that “your slightest look will easily unclose me / though i have closed myself as fingers.” The poet is noting the power of love to change a person, in this case, change the poet from a closed person to an open one. As is common in love poetry, the poet expresses his adoration for his beloved by making her seem larger than life. In addition to having the power to change him from a closed man to an open one, this unnamed woman also has the power to do the reverse: “if your wish be to close me, i and / my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly.” At the same time, the poet notes that this powerful woman is also very feminine, in the frail sense that his contemporary readers would have understood. Cummings says “nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals / the power of your intense fragility.” The poem is also very sensual, using the image of a blooming rose, which is often given sexual connotations by writers.

Nature
Cummings’s discussion of his adoration for his beloved goes hand-in-hand with his love of nature. When he is describing how easy it is for his lover’s glance to open him up, if she wishes, cummings compares this process to a natural one, the blooming of a rose: “you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens / (touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose.” Cummings continues the natural allusions when...

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