what if a much of a which of a wind

by ee cummings

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
—when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
—whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:blow death to was)
—all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live

 

 

Title:

what if a much of a which of a wind

Poet:

cummings, e. e.

Year of Publication:

1920

Age Appropriate:

15+

Subject:

Man

Theme:

Philosophy

Form:

Sestet

Type:

Didactic

Meter:

Accentual verse

Rhyme:

Irregular

Literary Period:

Modern

Things to Discuss:

Form, punctuation, syntax, all seem to be abandoned in this poem. Does this interfere with the message?

About the Poem:

The total number of syllables varies from seven to ten while but the number of accents is held constant to four.

About the Poet:

ee cummings’ technique was highly idiosyncratic: his later period was influenced the Cubist art movement. He held two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Charles Norton chair in literature at Harvard. He was awarded the Bolllingen Prize in Poetry in 1958. At the time of his death, he was the second most widely read poet in the United States.