somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond

by E. E. Cummings

Start Free Trial

What is the role of enjambment in "somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond"?

The role of enjambment in this poem is to create a sense of outpouring, as if the speaker is saying these words to his beloved in one long, unedited burst. At the same time, the very enjambment that rushes us forwards causes us to stop and pause for an extra moment on the words at the end of lines, increasing our focus on them.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Enjambment occurs when a sentence continues on beyond the line or stanza in which it begins. It is used by cummings frequently in this poem. For example, the sentence that begins in the first line continues into the second:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence ...

As we can see in the above, the sentence continues past the word beyond that ends the first line and continues into line 2.

Cummings also uses enjambment between lines and stanzas, such as in:

you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

[stanza break]

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly.

The enjambment in this poem creates a breathless quality, as if the poet is saying these words to his beloved in one long outpouring of love. The poem has the feeling of rapturous words tumbling out unedited, one after the other, as if the speaker wants to capture the raw immediacy of his emotions and thoughts without interference. This has the effect of giving this deeply lyrical love poem the quality of prose as the words rush out and slur together, the commas barely managing to keep them apart.

But while the enjambment creates this intense rushing, tumbling feeling, it also makes breaks in the middle of sentences that cause us to stop and pause on the last words of lines, words such as beyond, opens, rose, and, suddenly, equals, and texture. As the long sentences pull us forward to the next line, we also have short stops in which we are poised for an extra second or two on a final word. Thus, at the same time, the enjambment creates a rushed feeling while focusing our attention on a few distinct words.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team