Stanza 2 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
- We're back to talking about these mysterious eyes, which only have to barely glance at the speaker to have a major effect on him.
- He tells us that his lover's eyes "unclose him," which translates to us as opening him up emotionally.
- Notice how, in a poem that uses very little rhyme at all, Cummings chooses to use the word "unclose," here, which sounds a whole lot like "enclose" from the first stanza. The word "open" is what most people would probably say for this idea, but instead Cummings uses the weird word "unclose."
- This really makes those words pop to us, and we're guessing the ideas they represent are going to be pretty important as we go along. Let's just keep an eye on this for now.
- So, thus far the speaker has gone from being totally surrounded in the first stanza to being totally opened up by his lover in the second. We wonder what will happen next.
- Oh, before we move on, don't miss the cool simile for being closed off emotionally here when he says he has closed himself "as fingers."
- This brings to our minds the image of a balled-up fist that gradually relaxes and opens. How about you?
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
- Cummings launches another simile for being opened up emotionally by comparing the feeling to the way flowers open in spring.
- We're also guessing that you noticed the weird syntax here too, right?
- Why doesn't the speaker just say something like, "You always open me like Spring opens her first rose."?
- One reason is because that would be a much more boring way to say it. We think it's cool how line 7 opens with "you open always petal by petal," tricking us into thinking that he's talking about the girl.
- Sex alert: in general, the vaginal connotations of a flower opening would make some people think it was referring to a female. But the speaker throws us for a loop by tossing "myself" in there after the petal opening stuff.
- So, it's like the weird structure of the line highlights the gender reversal going on here.
- To us, this makes the speaker's lover seem even more powerful.
- Speaking of power, did you notice that we've come upon our first and only capitalized word? Yeah, that's right: "Spring."
- Cummings was totally obsessed with spring and wrote a lot of poems about it. (Check out "in Just" for a great example.)
- To us, it seems like the choice of using a capital S almost personifies Spring, making her into a being instead of an annual set of weather conditions. We imagine her as some sort of nature goddess with powers that mere mortals just can't understand.
- So, when the speaker compares the power of his lover over him to the power of this goddess, we're seriously impressed. (Or maybe we're a little worried for him—we're not sure which.)
- We also notice that once again Cumming has squished together some words with "touching skillfully,mysteriously," which blurs together the ideas there and seems to up the erotic undertones (especially with the inclusion of "touching").