red-rag and pink-flag
blackshirt and brown
strut-mince and stink-brag
have all come to town

some like it shot
and some like it hung
and some like it in the twot
nine months young

5 Comments

  1. Lawrence says:

    To: Steven
    It is true that Cummings´ active participation in warfare (not as a combatant) occurred in Part 1 of the Great World Conflict of the 20th Century, but, I have read he was still alive and his brain was still functioning in 1940 when (I have heard) he wrote this piece. Since the adoption of Fascism (with a capital F) as a name for a modern political movement wearing black shirts was started by the ex-socialist leader, Mussolini in the 1920´s along with the organizing of the brown shirts in Germany at roughly the same time, (with a capital N) long before Part 2 of the Great World Conflict began, there was plenty of time for Cummings to have observed them coming “to town”. in the sense of them taking control of their nations and eventually waging war. One need not to have actually witnessed their arrival by being “in” the war to have been aware of their “coming”. His allusion to the hypertestosteroniness of the shirts-of-color participants may just be the recognition of the sexual undertones of violent men when congregating, such as when bikers descend on Sturgis yearly.

  2. kL says:

    I think, written in 1940 as it was, it’s a comment on people being on leave from the War, remembering the lewd behavior of those freed from battle for a weekend in Paris. It’s men and women and sexual release in finding each other, if only for a moment, before the seriousness of War reclaims them or the consequence of responsibility kicks it (hence the 9 months young after being in the twot).

  3. anthony says:

    What does this poem mean?

  4. Steven says:

    Nice try, Iba.
    But Facism in Europe and Italy occur during the second world war and cummings was in the first.

  5. Ibi says:

    …isn’t it an allusion to the rape, murder and torture of Fascism…rampant in Italy and Europe in the time of Cummings…

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