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somewhere i have never travelled - E. E. cummings

e. e. cummings is somewhat of a maverick figure in English poetry. All young students of literature love him for his disdain for punctuation. I emulated him for quite a while egged on by the thought of registering protest through form. But critics have seen this refusal to concur with syntactic rules as childish or immature or even artless. But cummings didn’t relent, and there is a great sense of play in his deconstruction of language. somewhere i have never travelled is a beautiful illustration of the poet’s quaint wordplay. But for me what is interesting is that his experimentation does not obfuscate - it only makes more lucid a kind of rawness that is the seed of a love that he describes in the poem. If this poem were a piece of music, it would be Yumeji’s theme; the violin slowly culling silence, as the waltz slips past the enjambment of words that ricochet in the mouth like a stone falling down a well. I rest my mind in the soft firmament of cummings’s imagery that dodges realities as swiftly as thought. His pen alights on the wings of his hesitation, christening each feather with the mystery of what he perceives, what he loves. He talks about the illusiveness of identity, the “intense fragility” and the mystery of what he observes - a mystery that brings him closer while, at the same time alienates him. We do not know where the image begins, and where the persona ends. The object of his love is a sprite, sidling through reality on the gossamer threads of his metaphors.



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