Friday, May 23, 2014

Analysis of "O Sweet Spontaneous" by E.E. Cummings

Original poem reprinted online here: "O Sweet Spontaneous" by E.E. Cummings
Originally read: October 14, 2013
More information about the Poet: E.E. Cummings


My copy says the title of this poem is "5."  A mistake on my part.

In any case, this poem works through innuendo; however, the relationship is between how certain people want to view, "O sweet spontaneous / earth" versus what the earth actually does.

The first group of people, the ones that have, "the / doting / fingers" are of "prurient philosophers."  The alliteration of the line adds a sense of humor to the situation, and the idea that these philosophers are "purient" (having lustful or lascivious thoughts" brings a humorous dirty-old-man feel.

     [...] pinched
     and

     poked
     thee
      , has the naughty thumb
     of science prodded
     thy

               beauty

Note how everything is aligned as though planned the further the poem.  Even the syntax of the comma is aligned bringing another layer of speed in this poem.  And when I mention speed the short lines slows down the reader because the use of alliteration forces the reader to differentiate between the same sonic sounds to get the "meaning"

And "pinched" and "poked" and "naughty" don't usually go with "science" so when the idea of "beauty" comes in -- the "earth" becomes more of a victim to these "philosophers."

But then the poem then addresses another group of people

                                [...] how
     often have religious taken
     thee upon their scraggy knees
     squeezing and

     buffeting thee that thou mightiest conceive
     gods

So one end of the spectrum -- dirty pervert philosophers and on the other naive forceful religious people forcing meaning (squeezing) out of the earth.  gods.
This places "earth" at the opposite spectrum -- the savior.

And, as usual, the parenthetical shows more of a grounded perspective

            (but
     true

     to the incomparable
     couch of death thy
     rhythmic
     lover

                  thou answerest

       them only with

                            spring)

Here is the key, the rhythmic lover as though going through cycles.  And even though the "earth" is spontaneous, as in not knowing exactly when a response will occur, is consistent with the type of response -- spring -- a simple changing of the seasons that doesn't change no matter the interpretations of philosophers or the religious.                    


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