Last Updated September 5, 2023.
The mysterious poem “somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond” by E. E. Cummings follows an elusive metaphor and shows a love for an unknown “other.” Widely recognized as one of Cummings’s best love poems, it is vague and ambiguous throughout, which makes it unclear to whom he is speaking and adds an air of mystery to the poem overall.
The Joy of New Experiences and the Unknown
First, there is a clear theme of the joy of new experiences and the unknown. The most prominent aspect of this poem is that we know so absolutely little about the other person, and Cummings expressly states in it that he does not know much more. As the title suggests, being with this person is somewhere he has never traveled, meaning it is an entirely new experience being with this individual, but he assures us and the other person that it is a wonderful experience being with them.
The Beauty of Simplicity and Frailty
A second theme throughout this poem is the idea of beauty found in simplicity and frailty. The other person, who is the subject of this poem, is apparently extremely powerful and beautiful in their frailty. This fragility makes the speaker succumb to their every whim, stating that if it were their wish, they could unclose his life in a moment, or instead, close it up completely. The poem itself is simple and sparse, both in form and structure and in diction. Cummings doesn’t use lofty language, choosing simplicity instead, and this is a mirror of what he states through this theme, the idea of beautiful simplicity or weakness.
The Beauty of Intimacy
A final theme in this work is intimacy, or closeness. The poem's speaker seems to be expressing the beginning stages of intimacy, truly knowing someone else and loving them. He is experiencing knowledge of them and intimacy with them for the first time, and it’s new but welcome. This closeness has made him want to open himself up, or shut himself off completely if that’s what the other wants. This experience of intimacy is portrayed as something beautiful.