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Analysis and comments on in Just- by e.e. cummings

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Comment 14 of 734, added on December 5th, 2004 at 10:28 PM.

The goat-footed baloonman is Pan-the greek diety who welcomed spring by
playing his pipes for the woodland creatures-just as the baloonman ushers
in the season of re-birth and renewal with the children. Nothing dark,
sinister or perverse here- it is a lighthearted view of an urban scene
played against an ancient sylvan setting for effect.

Michael from United States
Comment 13 of 734, added on December 1st, 2004 at 6:32 PM.

I really don't believe that this poem is about Satan, and I don't see it as
that evil, either. I can see how some would see the image of a grown man
with "goat feet" among children and associate it with a pedophile, but I
don't think that's what was intended.
The image of a queer (*happy*) old man with baloons does not seem as
threatening to me as others seem to have found it - he seems to be a
friendly grandfather-figure in the first 2/3 of the poem.
When I read the last 3rd of the poem, I see the baloonman as a satyr or a
kind of pied-piper. He is a mythic figure drawing children out of
innocence and into adulthood, but as sad as it is to see the children grow
up and distance themselves from their purity (the "far and wee" phrase has
more space between words each time), growing up doesn't have to be "evil."
Just because you lose innocence does not mean you descend into hell - even
though adults are more exposed to sin does not make them evil. I thought
this poem shows the beginning of the transition into maturity wistfully.

Comment 12 of 734, added on December 1st, 2004 at 2:04 AM.

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame baloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old baloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


baloonMan whistles

when the world is mud-
-its separated for a reason mud is like when the world sucks or life sucks
thats that line
the little lame baloonman
-little means ignorant
-lame means like corrupt
baloonman is significant to desires
-like things you
-want like when you are a little kid you want a ballon
-you want it you need it
whistles far and wee
-he gets everyones attention
-and notice the spacing that shows the time over time he gets everyone to
eddyandbill come running from marbles and piracies and its spring...spring
is always at the margin in the peom its the beginning like birth or new
life like someone explained up there...
and the games all inocent fun
when the world is puddle-wonderful
puddles are usually fun like when your young you splash in puddles..and
they are like filled with so much life and the all the microcosms in it and
there is something to explore and so much so when the world has something
to explore and is fun.
the queer old baloonman whistles
far and wee...notice he breaks so many rules in grammar thats
what this poem is about breaking the rules set up for you as a kid and
having to grow up to break out of the rules but this poem shows thats not
always good.
and bettyandisbel come dancing
come dancing dancing you are close to another its sexual it shows how they
too break out of they're inocense as the boys did and went running to
desires (the baloonman and his baloons)
game you play when you are young from -hop-scotch and jump-rope and -the
inocese being showed
as it is originally showed its a hill going down to the devil or pan going
down to hell falling from inocense to sin
spring again coming out to the margin being showed for the third time these
are like the three stages in life
young mature and old or also three seasons summer spring (the beginning)
and fall no winter that represents death he doesnt show the stage of death
again the devil or pan being what brings and breaks down inocense with
desire like they do in life they have so many rules and things that you
should have or you should be and it forces you to conform and change and do
anything to be the prettiest girl or the most popular guy and that takes
away your inocese once your making sins to get your status and rank in this
baloonMan whistles
baloonMan Man capitalized can show change from the first time to the last
and final or can show the horns never thought of that...
^this being the going down to hell after that change because you have no
inocense but sin and are now condemed...
the title can it could be for "unjust" or also connect spring to just with
the dash after just so its JUST-in spring just in the beggining when you
reseve life are you really and truely free and happy and inocent.

erik from United States
Comment 11 of 734, added on November 18th, 2004 at 12:14 PM.

I agree witih "Mistero," people who see the balloonMan as sexual predator
are bringing their own baggage to the poem. The poem celebrates, I think,
leaving childish play behind. Celebrates the transition into the next
stage of life and its sexual awakening. The children, after all, come
running quite happily. The association with spring -- traditionally "THE"
season to fall in love (haven't you ever seen Bambi?) makes the point
clear. Some American holy-rollers might consider sexual awakening evil,
but I do not think e.e. cummings agrees.

Ed from United States
Comment 10 of 734, added on November 13th, 2004 at 9:47 PM.

It is possible that this poem is not creepy, but in a way showing how the
maturity of children happens. It is only the parents that are fearful of
their child be led astray by some Pied Piper or Mythological god, Pan. But
how I see it, is that Pan, being a god of fertility, and as E. E. Cummings
quite often wrote about sex, that this poem is the coming of age where in
children are no longer playing their games, but rather are swept away into
adult hood. It could be said that the beginning of the poem "in
Just-spring" maybe alluding to the beginning of a child's life (as in the
spring of their exsistence), but if looked at how short our child hood is,
the "in Just-spring" can be viewed as the spring of life, and that then
falls into the loss of innocence.

Megan Hope from United States
Comment 9 of 734, added on October 28th, 2004 at 10:31 AM.

First off, remember that this poem was published in 1923. The word queer
does not mean gay but happy. Anyways, I'm not an expert on poems, but I
think the poem relays a simple idea; growin up from the point of a view of
one who has. To me understanding the poem was easiest and what I think
cummings wants his reader to do is look at it from our perpective, an
adult. 1st group of word, a person looking back when he is struggling in
life or having difficulties. We all been there when we wish we were young
again, life was simpiliar back then. 2nd group, like our memory of the
past, especially our childhood, the memory or short and vague. Therefore
cummings groups the word so closely together. Last the as we realize that
its only a memory, we are an adult now (balloonMan); time of innocence and
youth are "far and wee".

Hoang Nguyen from United States
Comment 8 of 734, added on October 27th, 2004 at 9:20 AM.

Mudlucious the little lame ballonman? he's queer? what a lovely dayin the
park for a queer old ballonman!!!!

Almatari Undomiel from United States
Comment 7 of 734, added on October 23rd, 2004 at 7:39 AM.

Seeing an image of Satan in Cummings' poem astonishes me. I've been
reading and teaching "in Just-" since the early 1960's. I think that the
image of the lame balloonman suggests the same sort of thing to everyone --
a figure who draws children out a world where children's games such as
marbles, playing pirates, hopscotch, and jumprope. I also think most of my
students over the years have identified the "balloonMan" with the
half-goat, half-man satyrs of classical mythology. The satyrs (and their
female equivalents, the nymphs) are emblematic in mythology of human
sexuality, so most readers in the past would have seen a satyr figure and
would have interpeted the lure of the "balloonMan" as the inevitable
awakening of sexuality in young people. After all, isn't spring almost
always associated with love, birth, new life, and so forth. Perhaps we
have heard too many fundamentalists talking about images of Satan with
cloven feet, or perhaps we have heard too many stories on the news about
sexual predators and child pornographers. Perhaps, from the point of view
of an adult, seeing children come of age is something common which happens
everywhere ("far and wee") and which is a little scary and uncontrollable.
I fear that readers of Cummings' poem who see Satan or a sex predator
trying to lead children astray are pushing today's fears into a poem which
really is saying something rather innocent, that is, that every season a
whole new generation of children grow up and leave lucious mud and
wonderful puddles behind.

Mistero from United States
Comment 6 of 734, added on October 19th, 2004 at 11:57 PM.

cummings is amazing. The form of the poem makes me think of the children
on swings as does the placement of far and wee, i can see the swings go up
and down. ITs amazing I love Cummings.

David from United States
Comment 5 of 734, added on October 12th, 2004 at 8:59 PM.

Okay, for starters the balloonMan can be representitive of Satan or Pan, he
can also be a Pied Piper figure. The whistling "far and wee" reminds us of
the Pied Piper calling out to the children and leading them away. Pan also
plays a pipe, more well known as Panpipes and he is also goatfooted. The
poem also shows us that the balloonMan has horns. Look at how ee cummings
spells his name, balloonMan, the 'M' gives the horn image. It is clear that
at first the children don't know that he is leading them out of innocence,
by the time they see his true nature it is too late. The main reason why
the balloonMan is so sinister is because he is taking the children away in
the spring of thier lives, naturally thier innocence is lost later on in
the metapharical 'autumn'. I love this poem and the chills it sends up my

Sarah from Canada

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Information about in Just-

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: in Just-
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 4199 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 31 2000

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