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

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem in Just-


  1. veRani(ca Cummings says:

    My favorite poet is Mr. Cummings, and there is no reason whatsoever that you should disrespect him just because he talks about a ballonman. I AM HIS GRANDDAUGHTER FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!!

  2. jeff says:

    Twice in the poem Cummings attributes less-than-desirable adjetives to the Balloonman. “Lame” and “goat-footed.” I do not believe Cummings specifically intends Satan with these words, but indicates a diabolical or impure aspect to the character. He leads them from the mindless joys of childhood as we all must metaphorically. Our Balloonmen have been jobs or responsibilities or sex…etc.

  3. Lisa says:

    Someone asked about the balloonman. Note how he mentions- what is is? goatfeet? The balloonman is Pan. Lighthearted, mischevous fellow.

    Or so I think.

  4. henry says:

    I agree that it is about pan and the whisle

  5. sjwshirley says:

    I’m always thinking of what the balloonman stand for… But no answer. Is there anyone can help?

  6. Sarah says:

    After reading what all of you have written about this poem, in Just-, by E. E. Cummings, I agree and strongly disagree with what your interpritations are.

    To me, this is a poem about growing up and loosing innocence on the way. I do not think it has anything to do with Satan, the goat footed man is just Pan, the Greek god of herding and music. From what I know about E. E. Cummings, though it is little, I really don’t think that he would have Satan mentioned in a poem with this message. How ever, all we can do is agree and disagree with what each of us say because there is no way we can ask him what his real meaning of this poem was, and from all of these comments I see no sign that he wrote down his real message in some sort of autobigraphy.

    This is just my opinion though, and everyone has a right to state their own opinion.

  7. rofflesauce says:

    also note that eddieandbill and bettyandisbel correspond:

    eddie rhymes with bettie, and bill sounds like isbel, which implies that they are meant to be together. this can either play on the “love” theme, or the ideas behind maturation and the progression of time.

  8. J says:

    Pan was also a god of chaos. He drove people into unexpected lust, and he also played pipes, which the whistle may represent in the poem. This poem then is filled with hints of sexuality, intoxication, and even pedophilia.

  9. beth says:

    i’m teaching this poem to my english class tomorrow and hae been trying to interpret the poem. i’m only in high school but i, personally, think that cummings is sort of reminising about childhood. he talks about a ballonman and spring and child games. he says that “eddieandbill come running” and i think when he says this he is refering to two kids running up o a balloon man literally to get a balloon. no hidden meanings about sex and awakening. also, the way he phrases it “eddieandbill” and “bettyandisbel”, when i read it out loud i want to say it fast because of how it is written, this could be intentional reference to the way children speak when they are excited, and when children get to get balloons from the balloonman they quite possibly could be excited. also i think the “whistles fara and wee” part is his way of saying its in the past, its far away and fading with time, much like the “whistles far and wee” seems to get further away towards the end of te poem, almost as if it is fading away like a distant memory. this supports the idea that he is reminising. the goatfooted thing seems to be more of a reference to pan the greek diety and the heralding of spring.
    i really don’t get how people are getting satan out of the poem though at all.

  10. mike says:

    camille, have you read the poem out loud to yourself? if not, try it. then have someone else read it to you. if you do this, you will understand.

  11. Camille says:

    I am a student and will be doing a report on E.E. Cummings and his poem “In Just-” and let me say, it is unfortunatly very difficult to comprehend his poetic language and use of grammar. I do not get this poem and am discouraged. This is another failing grade from Ms. Lopez.

  12. Dulles says:

    Discussion of this poem always seems to center on a movement toward evil (pan/satyr/goatMan/etc…), a loss of childhood; but to me, it seems to be a movement in the other direction. A celebration of Spring (hope and joy to come) and out of Winter (cold and depressed).
    The goatMan is always “far and wee”, never moving closer (unless we consider next winter).
    The carefree awakening of new life is evidenced by bettyandisbel playing hopscotch (see the (spacing of the) stanzas below) in spite of the whistleing balloonMan. (skip skip jump jump jump)

    from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



    balloonMan whistles

  13. Melanie says:

    The title of this poem is Chansons Innocentes part I. The entire poem is in three parts. It comes from the collection titled Tulips and Chimneys published in 1923. It has become customary to list even poems with titles by their first lines because so few of cummings’s poems have titles. Anyone could look this up. It’s not up for discussion what the “title” in Just means! This posting does harm to the poem with incorrect line breaks and spelling errors. To Benny from Canada: note the balloonman starts out lame and ends up goat-footed (meaning sure-footed)! cummings always celebrates innocence.

  14. liz says:

    This poem is simply AMAZING.

  15. patrick says:

    i love this poem i actually recited it for a class prject
    and got a A. my teacher is also a fan.

  16. Benny says:

    Something I forgot to mention – the title. “In Just-” is most likely abbreviated. The full title would be “In Justice”, or “Injustice”. This brings up another paradox. If you say it like, “In Justice”, it means that children inevitably losing their innocence is a just occurence and that it happens to the best of us. However, if you read it as, “Injustice”, it’s a commentary on the bitterness that it’s not fair that little children have to be so easily led astray into adulthood (i.e.: perversion) thus losing their innocence forever.

  17. Benny says:

    In our class we simplified the entire poem. The “goatfooted balloonMan” is an allusion to Pan from Greek mythology. He was promiscuous and overtly sexual, constantly trying to seduce the Nymphs. The little children symbolize innocence, and Pan (balloonman) symbolizes perversion. The balloonman (something fun that children would enjoy) is calling to them. “Wee” could be the sound of him whistling or it could add to the irony that the children are happy (i.e.: “Whee! Balloonman!”) to follow him but don’t even realize that they’re leaving childhood behind and becoming more acquainted with uglier things (i.e.: perversion) in life.

    Paraphrase: Loss of innocence.

  18. satyr says:

    the ballonman with goat feet refers to a faun or satyr

  19. balloonman says:

    balloon is spelled b a l l o o n, not b a l o o n. there are two l’s. i looked this up and saw this poem elsewhere, and it is not cummings’s mistake, it is yours.

  20. winnie says:

    all u robert frost lovin mo fo’s don’t know poetry. Frost is the Paris Hilton or the andrew lloyd weber of writing. too much hype, not enough talent.

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