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somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond


by E. E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond Theme of Love

It would be a major understatement to say that the speaker of "somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond" has been pricked by Cupid's arrow of love. It's more like he's been blown apart by Cupid's love-grenade. Like a lot of love poems, this one amps up the power that the lover has over its speaker, giving her almost supernatural powers that rival the forces of nature itself. The piece is also similar to many traditional love poems in that the speaker spends a lot of time talking about his lover's eyes, and in that the poem uses the well-worn symbol of a rose. In the hands of a lesser poet, these elements might seem trite, but Cummings is a wordwizard extraordinaire, who can conjure a classic from clichés.

Questions About Love

  1. What popular love poem images and symbols does Cummings choose to use? 
  2. Do you think that Cummings is successful in reinventing well-worn images, or is this poem just one cliché after another? Why do you think so?
  3. Would you say that the speaker is in a "healthy" relationship? Why or why not? What would Dr. Phil say? Why? 
  4. Compare and contrast the way the subject of love is treated in Pablo Neruda's "Love Sonnet 17". How are the relationships described in the two poems similar and different? What symbols appear in both poems and how are they used?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The relationship portrayed in the poem between the speaker and his lover demonstrates a complex understanding of the human heart in all its unknowable complexities. Deep, right?

The speaker is in a seriously dysfunctional relationship. He needs to get out now—like, right now.

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