Monday Poem: “somewhere I have never travelled” by e. e. cummings

The Monday Poem

I was going to wait another week to post this, and feature a different poet inbetween, but in the end I couldn’t resist. This is my favourite poem of all those I’ve read by e. e. cummings (I practically have it memorised):

somewhere I have never travelled by e. e. cummings

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 easily will 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

(courtesy of poets.org)

I love pretty much every line of this poem, so I’ll just touch on a few things. Firstly, the way the imagery itself seems to ‘unfold’ with the poem: roses, hands, rain. Each verse is linked by the repetition of – and new interpretation of – these three things, based around the feeling caused by the person the poet loves. In particular, I love that the opening and closing of hands, hearts and roses is linked subtly throughout, rendering the final image of his lover as a fragile, delicate flower without saying anything quite so cliche. The poem has layers just like a rose. And also like a rose, it is quite, quite beautiful.

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