Study Guide

anyone who lived in a pretty how town Stanza 8

By Edward Estlin Cummings

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Stanza 8

Lines 29-32

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.

  • So now we're approaching the end of the poem and we know that anyone and his female companion are being buried. Line 29 just tells us "all by all and deep by deep," and it's fair to say that this line continues the imagery of more dirt falling on the coffins. And the next line says, "and more by more they dream their sleep." If we look back at line 20, we see that Cummings is echoing the connections he makes between dreaming, sleeping, and death as though all of them are natural parts of life… which they basically are. 
  • And then there's line 31, which says "noone and anyone earth by april." This line lends support to our hunch that "noone" is the actual name of this female companion. Now they lie together in the "earth by april," which probably means it's the springtime when they die. 
  • And now here's one of the toughest lines in the poem: "wish by spirit and if by yes." It's almost impossible to untangle this one, but let's give it a shot: 
  • It's clear that we spend part of our lives wishing for things. So what part of us tends to do the wishing? Well it's probably our spirit that does this. And if we spend a lot of time wishing, we probably think of the words "if" and "yes" quite a bit. Yes, we want good things to happen. And yes, we know they'll only happen "if" things go a certain way. 
  • And so now as we go into our final stanza, we have this image of our hero "anyone" and his love "noone" lying side-by-side in their graves.

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