23 Poems Before I Turn 23 Challenge: Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

Poem number 3

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond by E. E. Cummings

This is pretty much the first poem by the great E.E. Cummings that I have read, *dramatic pause* because fate never really intertwined. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Cummings (using his last name because I’m not well acquainted with him) ever since the good old One Tree Hill days, with Lucas Scott beginning the narration with quotes by him. He has been on my reading list since forever, so I grabbed the first opportunity I got and read him (which was today). (I’ll be using too many bracket comments in this post because this is Mr. Cummings’ poetry style.)

The Poem:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

My Thoughts:

I had to look for the poem on two different poetry sites because I thought the lack of capitalization in the poem was due to some technical glitch, but as it turns out, that is how it has been written by mr. cummings (yes, I did that on purpose). I feel that gives the poem a little casualness, as does the title which is in fact, incomplete in its meaning if you read the first line of the poem. Or maybe it intends to describe the protagonist as being someone who is not too comfortable falling in love with someone, not too happy with the vulnerability and proximity. I never thought something so poetically licensed could be so beautiful.

His sheer brilliance resonates with every syllable in the poem. (Yes, it is a love poem. As my group leader from the Yale Writer’s Conference would say, all of this points towards my genre writing.) But calling this work of art a love poem would prejudice the readers against it. It is more of a paradox rather than a metaphor for a romantic relationship. (It is a bundle of contradictions. Yes, I used that phrase yet again in my blog post.)

The complexity of the poem is immense and I know my bare reading don’t even scratch the surface, but I feel this piece is a saga of the excitement and fear of getting into a new relationship. Every little mundane thing his lover does fascinates him, and now that she is near him, he is filled with the inherent fear that he will do something that would ruin their relationship (which i cannot touch because they are too near *sigh*).

He pretends to be stoic in her presence for the fear of being hurt but she unravels him and sees what is hidden inside the walls he has built. (And Mr. Cummings says so with utter beauty and sensuality- touching skilfully,mysteriously *sigh* *sigh* *swoon*.) This poem could very well be read with the coyness of ‘To His Coy Mistress‘ by Andrew Marvel (*raises eyebrows* *whistles*).

He acknowledges the fact that as soon as he realizes he is getting close to his lover, he shuts her out for the fear of being left bare in the winter snow. He is afraid of being left heartbroken. But he also realizes that nothing in this world compares to her beauty and he gives up everything, every fear, every breath. He surrenders to her completely.

He wonders if she too is afraid of getting to close to him. Towards the end, he talks about the intricate ways she has of reaching the most fragile and well hidden parts of him. I think she pays attention to the littlest of things and affects him in a way that brings out his true self, which is what I believe love to be: having no fear of showing your true self because you know you would be accepted, cherished, loved and protected no matter what. (not even the rain,has such small hands is one of the most beautiful lines I have ever ever read *dreamy sigh*)

20 poems, 33 days till my nameday!

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