What does playing with the word order do for the poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town"?

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Ordinarily, a scrambled or unusual word order slows down the reader as he moves through the poem.

In this poem, this is especially true of the second line, "(with up so floating many bells down)." It is almost impossible to read through the first stanza quickly, because we are brought up short by the baffling syntax of that line. However, it is obvious from the parentheses and lack of commas that this second line is supposed to be read quickly, all in one breath, as it were.

The result is that instead of trying to let our brains get meaning from the line, we read it almost like a chant, as much (or more) for the sound and rhythm as for the meaning.

This tendency is reenforced when we hit the next line, which instead of being a grammatical sentence or phrase, is simply "spring summer autumn winter." This too is a chant—in fact, many of us remember chanting these four words, in this order, when we were...

(The entire section contains 509 words.)

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