by E.E. Cummings
This is where the poem shows its true colors. A nice, neat little poem about spring? Maybe. But "in Just-" is also a complex play on the ability of words to direct our voices. How fast can short words make us read? How much do long vowels slow us down? Read through the poem. Aloud. Don’t worry, we can’t hear you! Now pay attention to the way the Cummings is actually directing our reading through his use of language. Creepy, right? But also pretty cool.
- Lines 3-4: Check out the alliteration in these lines: "luscious the little lame balloonman." Repeating the "l"s makes our tongues roll over the entire line.
- Lines 4-5: The long vowels in "balloonman" and "wee" draw out these lines, slowing down our reading.
- Line 10: More alliteration! This time check out the "w"s.
- Lines 6 and 14: Creating new words out of the names of children speeds up our reading. It’s a play on the eyes, but it translates to the voice, as well. We read faster and faster and faster…