Study Guide

in Just- Summary

By E.E. Cummings

in Just- Summary

It’s that day in May when the sun starts shining for the first time in weeks and everybody you know heads out to the park. The story’s pretty simple: spring has sprung. Everything’s growing and all-around delightful. The kids, in fact, jump for joy when the man selling balloons starts to whistle. Clowns (and other balloon-selling folk) have gotten a bad rap for being scary and creepy, but this guy seems to be all right. At the very least, he gets the kiddies to come running to him.

That, folks, is the poem. See? We told you it wasn’t so bad.

Why the big fuss about the first day of spring? Well, that’s where the magic of this poem takes over. See, E.E. Cummings creates a poem that’s half painting and half sound-scape (that’s the aural version of a landscape). We know, we know: we told you it was a poem. But it’s also an image. We won’t get deep into the technical reasons for why this works so well here; check out "Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay" for some closer looks at all the good stuff that’s going on. For now, though, we’ll just tell you to read the poem aloud. You’ll see what we mean. Chock-full of words like "mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful," the poem seems to be bursting with descriptions of the way that a spring day in the park looks and feels and sounds and smells. And because the poem repeats itself several times (in fancy technical terms, we’d call that a "refrain,") it emphasizes the way that all the tiny details of the poem actually contribute to one overarching image: the park in spring.