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Analysis and comments on since feeling is first... (VII) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 15 of 195, added on March 19th, 2005 at 2:20 PM.

As many have before me, I will offer my reading of the poem, stanza by
stanza.

"since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;"

I take this to mean that the flow of time is irrelevant; that when you
first feel something, everything else occurs simultaneously. If you will
ultimately develop a relationship with this person, that is evident from
the first moment you meet. I take this to be cummings' explanation of the
age-old whispering of newfound lovers, "I feel like I've known you
forever."

"wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world"

Spring is a common theme in cummings' poetry. He introduces it fairly
often as a symbol for new life; new worlds for exploration. Here, I see
this to mean that the novelty of intense love can make one do things that
one would otherwise not do, "while Spring is in the world" thus implying
that the love is in its beginning stages, an implication strengthened by
the previous stanza (a nearly Donne-like poem perhaps--"If we EVER will
have sex, why not now? Syntax doesn't matter.").

"my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says"

Blood approving can have many readings. It perhaps suggests that down to
the very marrow of his existance, he loves this lady. Or, maybe, it
suggests the flush of a new love.

Kisses being a better fate than wisdom is fairly self-explanatory. It's a
stark contrast to the poems of such literary greats as Shakespeare, who
flatter their lovers by reaffirming their immortalization in their poetry.

It's a typical cummings thing to do, swearing by flowers. In his poetry,
flowers are given a near-idolized position. In fact, poetry as a whole is
often seen as "flowery."

At this point, I fall into a reiteration of other readings--I agree that
"the best gesture of my brain is less than / your eyelids' flutter" hints
at an ineffability of love. All this poetry, perhaps he means, can be at
once surpassed by a single flutter of your eyelids.

"we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph"

What love has not been characterized by a feeling of being "for each
other"...has not been characterized by laughter and warm embraces?

I take the last line of this stanza to mean that life is not a paragraph,
with strict syntax and grammar and sentences and punctuation. Time, again,
is both flowing and occurring simulatneously.

"And death i think is no parenthesis"

It's interesting to see this sort of self-awareness in cummings' poetry.
He is the master of parentheses, throwing them in places where, to even the
least critical grammatical eye, they don't belong. With these parentheses,
he makes brilliant commentary on the nature of life and love. Yet this
poem is lacking in any parentheses. A parenthesis orders things; gives
them a syntax and a structure, something that cummings evidentally was
trying to avoid in this poem.

And even death, he boldly claims, could not give a syntax to this exciting
new love.

Elizabeth from United States
Comment 14 of 195, added on January 31st, 2005 at 7:38 PM.

when cummings says is comparing his brain to her eyelashes, he is proving
that love can't be analized. when people can forget about cause and effect
and simply love love, then one has found true love. this is my favorite
poem because it is the absence of all stress and worry. cummings is
describing a human's creation of Eden.

jess from United States
Comment 13 of 195, added on January 24th, 2005 at 3:39 AM.

since feeling is first is a poem about physical attraction, carpe diem,
take the chance etc.

Kelly from Australia
Comment 12 of 195, added on January 21st, 2005 at 4:02 PM.

At first, I didnt really understand this poem. But after reading everyone's
comments on it, I realize that it truly is a carpe diem type of poem. It
just shows you how deep his love for this woman really is. He tells her
that he would prefer a single kiss from her than infinite wisdom. I know
hes dead, but great poem e!

Raquel
Comment 11 of 195, added on January 7th, 2005 at 10:55 AM.

This was the greatest poem ive ever read, this poem is
very true.

Tiffany P. from United States
Comment 10 of 195, added on January 7th, 2005 at 9:06 AM.

i see this poem as a modern carpe diem

pilar cruz
Comment 9 of 195, added on December 10th, 2004 at 11:51 PM.

Just today we did an analysis of this poem in a poetry course i am taking
in my school. It's such a beautiful piece of work. It shows the importance
of love above all things, and that it's totally unpredictable and can't be
"syntaxed" or put into form. (atleast thats what i've managed to discover).
But i like all ur analysis's of it too. Just a lovely poem, and the ending
brings it to such a mysterious yet somehow complete closure thats just so
compelling. Well, yes, i'm done with this commentation now.

Jaye from United States
Comment 8 of 195, added on November 12th, 2004 at 6:14 PM.

Sorry, Krystia, but you are incorrect about the last few lines of the poem.
What Cummings means by "life is not a paragraph" is that life is not
structured. It has no complete sentences, no periods, often, no initial
purpose. One cannot write out their life and then live it as though it were
structured. Life has run-on sentences, errors, incorrect syntax and often
no puncuation. Furthermore, when Cummings ends his poem, he is saying that
death is no parenthesis. In most writing, a parenthesis is a side note, a
mere though of the author in order to help the reader into further detail
of explination. Cummings takes this ideal and says death is more than that,
death, in itself, it an event and should not merely be a side note of life.
That's what the last two lines mean, unlike your orginial opinion of living
life to the fullest. Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite poems, and
Cummings does a remarkably beautiful job expressing the mere joy of love.

Amanda from United States
Comment 7 of 195, added on October 25th, 2004 at 9:39 PM.

"the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter" This is a lovely way of showing just how powerful
his love for her truly is. The most brilliant, genius thought of his is no
match simply for her "eyelids' flutter". There is no rational explanation
for this, just like the "syntax" can never be understoood because love
holds none.

Alana from United States
Comment 6 of 195, added on October 21st, 2004 at 9:31 PM.

i tink one cannot truly understand the meaning of this poem unless one has
expirenced love. Truly, love is illogical and has no reason to it. Love
confuses one at first but one must except it for if you do it is the most
wonderful expierence in the entire world.

Jamie

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Information about since feeling is first... (VII)

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: since feeling is first... (VII)
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 727 times
Poem of the Day: Nov 30 2005


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