somewhere I have never traveled,gladly beyond

by E. E. Cummings

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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.

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 he talks about his lover closing him. He notes that if this were to happen, it would be the same “as when the heart of this flower imagines / the snow carefully everywhere descending.” In other words, cummings is linking the opening of himself to a flower’s blooming in Spring, while the closing of himself is associated with a flower’s death, as winter arrives and snow falls.

While the poet is infatuated with nature, he also notes that his beloved is more beautiful and her glance is more powerful than nature. He first talks about this idea in the context of the roses that he discussed earlier in the poem. He notes, “the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.” His lover’s eyes literally speak to this poet, as roses often speak to others, though in a symbolic sense. The poet expands on this idea when he incorporates another emblem of nature—rain. Cummings says “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.” The rain is one of the natural catalysts that help a rose to bloom. The rain drops, which cummings is referring to as “hands,” help to open the roses during their blooming, as if they are literally hands that pull open the petals. Yet, the poet is saying that his beloved’s skilful power to open him up rivals even that of nature to open up the flower.

Throughout all of his professions of love, the poet does not express a desire to understand...

(This entire section contains 808 words.)

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why his lover has such power over him and why he has such faith in her. In fact, he appreciates the fact that the origins of his faith in his lover’s power remain shrouded in mystery. The poet is traveling “gladly beyond / any experience” that he has ever had. In other words, he is in the metaphysical world, the only place where intangible concepts such as love and faith can be examined. Physically, nobody can identify how people fall in love or generate their faith in that love. The poet, however, is not trying to understand the origin of his faith, even though he examines it throughout the poem. Love’s mystery, which he equates with nature’s mystery—as when “Spring opens (touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose”—is more beautiful because it remains mysterious. As he notes at the end of the poem, “(i do not know what it is about you that closes / and opens.” For the poet, this is the way he prefers it. If the poet knew exactly where and why these intense feelings of his originated, it would steal some of the passion that he feels by blindly following his faith in his beloved.