citizen of how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

I would be the one to live in the pretty how town. E.E. Cummings writes of a town completely engulfed in its own perfection. The routine drives the town and its citizens – I feel as though I would slip into that routine.

It is where I find the most comfort.

The two characters, anyone and no-one, break all the normalities of how town and baffle the onlooking citizens with their blatant disregard to the status quo and that is the beauty of this poem; however, this indifference to structure provides no reassurance to me.

I find ease in capitalization and proper grammar and punctuation so reading this poem made me feel uncomfortable from the very start. I cannot deny it was a gorgeous poem and the unfamiliarity forced me to see a side of writing that I had never explored.

A side that doesn’t always follow rules.

Cummings uses all  lower case and focuses on imagery and metaphors to create a world of complete organization while intertwining a love story between two individuals. In my writing, I find it to be easier if I get straight to the point and tell the readers exactly what the situation they are reading about is and exactly how I feel about it. I figure rather than leave them guessing, I answer the questions they would otherwise ask.

Unfortunately, this also leaves little to interpret from my pieces. Unlike Cummings, my writing does not require constant analysis or days of guessing what I meant in one particular line. This is how I prefer it; however, from reading this poem, I became attracted to the convoluted thoughts. The idea that not everything must be so explicit and ten different interpretations does not represent the failure of an author but rather how successful they are in touching each reader a different way. This poem taught me to see the beauty in anyone and no one instead of hide behind the comfort I find in being a citizen of how town.

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One thought on “citizen of how town

  1. Dearest Harmehar,

    I agree with you– there is something so reassuring about routine. It’s comfortable because it is what we know best. When our routines are broken, I think most of us begin to feel uncomfortable because routine is all most of us have never known. It’s safe. When routine is broken, it is accompanied with feelings of uncertainty on our part. And uncertainty is uncomfortable.

    I also enjoyed how you tied the idea of routine and certainty to this poem as well as your own writing. Cummings definitely breaks the “status quo” or typical structure of writing due to his lack of punctuation. However, you also brought up an interesting point when you said it is because he breaks this routine that so many people are able to draw their own unique interpretations from his work. For me, this part of your response was particularly enlightening because it also shows the benefits of breaking routine. Can it be risky? Sure. But it can also bring variety to our lives.

    In terms of things to work on, I would maybe just say elaborate more when it comes to the specific routines that exist in your life. I believe you touched on this, but, as a reader, I was hungry for more.

    But all in all, really loved reading this, Harmehar. Very insightful. Thank you!


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