e. e. cummings' Poem of Simplicity in Life

1722 Words4 Pages

e. e. cummings' Poem of Simplicity in Life

This poem by e. e. cummings describes the link between age and happiness by relating the two with simplicity. With this simplicity, however, there is a break from reality, and there are consequences. We can only do what is natural for us.

you shall above all things be glad and young

by e. e. cummings

you shall above all things be glad and young.

For if you're young, whatever life you wear

it will become you;and if you are glad

whatever's living will yourself become

Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need:

i can entirely her only love

whose any mystery makes every man's

flesh put space on;and his mind take off time

that you should ever think,may god forbid

and(in his mercy)your true lover spare:

for that way knowledge lies,the foetal grave

called progress,and negation's dead undoom.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing

than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance

In reading the first line, it sounds as though the focus of life is being glad and young. This is because of how the first part of the sentence is worded. The word "shall" is more of a command than a suggestion. It says something will be done, not that something may happen. Furthermore, it's saying that you will do something. To say that someone else will do something lessens the meaning of the action. However, since you, the reader, are creating this action, you are obviously involved in the action more than if someone else was creating this action.

So what is the author saying you will do? You will be "glad and young" before anything else. By saying that you will be "glad and young" before anything else puts an importance on these two actions because there is nothing, accordin...

... middle of paper ...

...on's dead undoom" is a part that "his mind takes off time." Therefore, his mind forgets that refusal no longer has no punishment. This may not make a great deal of sense, but remember that the theme to this point has been finding happiness and simplicity. Perhaps, then, if refusal is saying no to the oblivion happiness brings, then he is again associated with the consequences of reality. This connects to the idea that god is mentioned as a reminder of reality and its consequences.

What is the conclusion? What is the significance of learning versus teaching? You can only learn of happiness through experience, in other words, living. However, you cannot teach one how to seek happiness; it is innate, meaning it is a natural part of you. It is natural for "stars to dance" and "birds to sing," so how can you teach them otherwise? Seek happiness and you shall find it.

Open Document