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if everything happens that can't be done

if everything happens that can't be done


by E.E. Cummings

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

Snow Line (7)

The funny thing about the difficulty level of this poem is that, if you read it with an open mind, it's pretty easy to feel, if not understand, what the poem is saying. But if your mind is closed by, say, everything everyone has ever told you about how to read poetry, this poem might prove tricky. It just refuses to make logical sense in many of its lines. There are made-up words and crazy phrases, paradoxes and metaphors left and right, weird capitalization, and no punctuation other than parentheses.

Our advice is to battle through all the stuff that confuses you, and read the poem based on how it makes you feel, without analyzing every single little part of it. Once you've truly felt the poem, then you can start to analyze it to discover why and how it makes you feel that way.

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