my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera, my

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem my sweet old etcetera… (X)

10 Comments

  1. Riley Gallagher says:

    the soldier is in the middle of combat dying and etcetra is every time the soldier starts to pass out from dying hence the subject change

  2. Peter says:

    This is plain, if not simple, satire. And the last Etcetera, referring as it does to the vagina, is comparing the good that is sex against the evil that is war. EEC was a man ahead of his time…

  3. Thomas Sieber says:

    My interpretation looking at the sound and the words and the scenario is:
    1. Etcetera is the sound of detonations, interrupting his thoughts. The last one kills him (thats why it´s written in capital letters), while thinking about his greatest solace.
    Very sorrowfull. War does not only cause fear and death, but also disintegration of the thoughts.

  4. Eddy says:

    does no one else see the blatant humor in the tone of this poem, especially the last stanza? this isn’t a totally serious poem… cummings forces us (well, maybe not everyone noticed i guess) to mentally replace the last “Etcetera” with a word of our choosing, and he’s talking about body parts – he’s obviously evoking his lover’s nakedness as being what the protagonist looks forward to most.

  5. ConqueringId says:

    He’s mocking the fervent support of those who aren’t going to war for the war, that they can believe in it so strongly yet they aren’t the ones risking their necks for all this freedom they believe in. His aunt acts as if she knows exactly why the war is happening and I’m sure she feels she knows which side is right (and Lord knows if anyone knows what World War I was really about and who was right anyway). His mother and father want to see him die bravely in battle and the father says how much he wishes he could as well, but sadly (and conveniently) he can’t make the sacrifice (but he would if he could!).

    But own hero is the one actually on the lines, risking his life, and he knows what he thinks is most important; his love. He has no illusions about the fairy tale of war and all he wants is to see his love again.

  6. rthomas says:

    Many readers are surprised when they learn that cummings depended on rhyme and repetition in many of his works. Although hidden in this poem, the rhymes: war, for, more (beginning line, internal, and end line are seamed invisibly into the lines). The repetition of the word: etcetera (following a lead begun by Whitman)replaces rhyme on lines 1,12(twice),and 14. In line 15 rhyme returns: course(internal)and: hoarse (internal line 16). In line 3: could (internal) and line 14: would (internal) and line 18: could (beginning line rhyme), cummings uses repetition and rhyme with words that do not stand out. To distract the reader from his love of rhyme and highlight his love for repetition he uses ()’s line 8: hundreds line 9: ( and–then line 10: hundreds), he futher breaks lines with the word:et line 20; cetera line 21; line 22: (dreaming,{first use of punctuation}Why? Setting us up for the punch line? Line 23: et (repetition or rhyme?) line cetera, of {final use of punctuation and use of the word: of (as repetition going back to line: 10 and picked up again in line: 26}. First use of capitalization is: Your (line 25) and last use: Etcetera) {punch line complete–poet exits the stage strong as the best actors do)…

  7. Jess says:

    This is my favourite poem. e.e.cummings’ work is amazing but this poem has always stood out to me

  8. Eric says:

    Damn, how awesome is this guy? You just look at his poems and know that you are in the presence of greatness. Amazing style, substance, and syntax throughout this entire poem. It just makes you think of words and phrases in new ways that you would have never have thought of before.

  9. Vivek says:

    This poem is a reminescence of a soldier commenting on how so many people were involved in the “War” , like the manufacturers of socks, unconciously. At the beginning of the poem, the word ‘etcetera’ is used in its normal sense,and the other things. But at the end of the poem it assumes a different significance and becomes the central point, with etcetera written using the capital letter ‘E’.

  10. David says:

    This was the first poem I read that i actually enjoyed. It really got me into Cummings. He is amazing! The way he experiments with form and syntax is great.

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