somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

119 Comments

  1. Hendra says:

    I love that poem! (and on total unrelated topic: it also rmnieds me of the movie In Her Shoes )Anyways, I used to read more poetry and some of my favorites included Jacques Prevert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Baudelaire And I remember vividly one of the first poems I had to learn when I was still quite young which was written by Ronsard in the 16th century (my own very fast translation follows)When you will be very old, at night by the chandelier,Sitting by the fire, talking and knittingSaying singing my verse, astonished Ronsard celebrated me when I was beautiful ( .)I will be under the earth, ghost without bonesBy mysterious shadows, I will take some restYou will be an old woman sitting by the fireRegretting my love and your proud disdainLive, if you believe me, do not wait until tomorrowPick as soon as today the roses of life

  2. Hans J. says:

    This poem is truly a masterpiece of love poetry. Though written at an rather early stage of his career it has everthing.
    Referring to comment 112, I can see no substantial evidence for this line of interpretation, neither in the poem itself, nor in the works of EE Cummings. Nature metaphors are almost always of positive meaning in his works and used in a nearly religious context. this evidence, paired with the childlike curiosity that seems all so often part Cummings observations, all that stays is a feeling of allmost breathless admiration for the woman adressed. In using nature metaphors Cummings attributes a certain level of deification to her, himself being unable to even name some the things she means. The 4th stanza in particular takes the comparison, i.e his admiration, from a nature level into an abstract religious feeling “… renders death and forever…” – obviously even based on physical sensation. Cummings is often more plain on physical matters, which again stresses his breathless admiration

  3. Dean Austin says:

    rain is so small that it can open the tiniest seed, the smallest molecule, the coldest heart, but her hands are even smaller, even more skilled, and can reach into his soul where not even rain can enter, where no one has been, not even ee the poet, and pull out from him the warmest love, and the strongest of feelings, the happiest of love, and one would suppose the most evil as well, if it’s in there… and she has found in him this poem as well…

  4. Eric says:

    Sorry, Jay. Unfortunately, you have things backwards. He says: “nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands,” meaning that the girl to whom he refers has SMALLER hands than the rain, with tiny, delicate fingers capable of opening ee “petal by petal […] as Spring opens(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose.” This image of being opened by small hands suggests the subtlety of the love that cummings feels for his subject. She is able to find her way into his deepest places of thought and feeling–the heart of his flower–places where people with bigger, clumsier hands would never achieve. Thus, we see that cummings perceives great power in this lover. She finds her way into his heart in a way that is not unfamiliar to anyone who has ever been in love. This is poetry.

  5. dani see says:

    i think this is the most beautiful thing i’ve ever read.
    my favorite line of all poetry is:
    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens; only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

    just something about that line! from the first time i read it, i have been able to quote it. i can’t wait until i feel something like that for another.

  6. Stephanie says:

    The heart is like a rose, opening and closing depending on the reaction of the lover. The rose opens and closes depending on the amount of rain. Cummings says, “no one, not even the rain, has such small hands”. (That line is one that stuck with me after I first read this poem in ’06…so intimate..!) The rain has great power and also delicacy in relation to the rose. There is intimacy in the rain, in having power over something as intimate as a rose. In metaphor, the rain is a symbol of love, which has power over something as intimate as the heart. A heart can so quickly open and close to love, it is at love’s mercy.

    ps Check out “Lonliness…a leaf falls” too if you haven’t yet. (oops did I give away the secret?)

  7. Al says:

    “I know not what it is about you that closes and opens
    But something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.
    Nothing..Not even the rain has such small hands.”

    What closes and opens ?
    Ans : Eyes , And each blink is a memory of the life as it unfolds in front of us. Closes so many doors

    and opens so many more.
    In real terms can mean, Each refrain of the woman he loves is an avenue for more. He is being positive

    that when it closes it opens to a new realisation in him.

    Something in me? what is this something in relation to the above.
    This disdain of his love by her results in his opening his heart to new ways of experiencing that love

    which he has for this person.

    What is the voice of the eyes? In relation to the depth of a rose.
    The eyes produce tears, these tears are both of happiness and sorrow.
    The voice of the eyes is, they reflect the state of a person, is he happy sad melancholy or yearning for

    unrequited love. I think he yearns for that love and her reaction brings tears to his eyes. Now he

    morefully describes what these tears are of which memory. The perfume of a rose is its beauty, which

    colors the eyes with love which it symbolises and the fragrance of this love is lingering. Just by

    imagining a Rose we can imagine the fragrance. SO is his love for this woman who is as fragrant as the

    perfume of a fresh rose and as dainty as its petals. Colored with time.

    Nothing.. Not even the rain has such small hands…
    on another note he says.. its all NOTHING….I am just like every other person, frail in love and easily

    hurt.
    Hands give and she gives him her hand that is so small for him, he wants more and yet realises she holds back so much, Deeper than all oceans. This realisation is happiness for the

    author, Like, Can we imagine a small childs glee while it plays with the water and mud puddles. Thats

    the glee of the author when he is understand this nuance of the woman he loves.

    In summary. I feel that E E Cummings was a spiritually awakened person, he awakened to the love around him and it found expression from various individuals. One such individual is trapped in the few lines of poem as illustrated above.
    Please note these are the feelings i gather from the poem and this may not be True for the author. I am not applying any situations to the author and its just my perception. So, If anyone finds this offensive and not in line with his/her thought. You are free to draw your own expression as i did mine.

  8. stacey says:

    You’re missing a stanza break. This is my favorite poem. It’s the best poem ever written. The least you can do is post it write. PROOF READ!

  9. al sinque says:

    I really can’t find words to fully explain this poem, but that doesn’t matter, all I can say is that i have loved this poem (unknowingly t’was a poem) eversince I was in Grade School.. heard it in a song entitled ” The first time I loved forever” by Lisa Angelle, I actually research it, and happened to fund it right in front of my test paper during college.. Thanks to my English Professor.. til now I do keep a copy of that paper! … the only poem that touched my heart

  10. Jay says:

    The last line of this poem is the most interesting and complex line of the entire poem, but I think I may have an answer for it. “nobody,not even the rain…” is describing the girl in this poem. She is the rain. Earlier E. E. metaphorically described himself as a flower, and the girl can open him up. What is one thing the opens up a flower? Rain. The last half of this line says, “has such small hands.” In the same stanza of this line Cummings is perplexed about what it is about her that opens and closes, but he truly believes that there is more to her than what meets the eye. When he says that she opens and closes, he is describing her behavior. She teases him and makes him believe that her emotions do not run deep. E. E. does not fall for her games, and believes that there is more to her than what she portrays. Cummings closed himself as fingers, and therefore he knows she does not have “small hands.” No one can be that shallow. Everyone hides their true emotions, and they won’t truly open up and let them out as they should.

  11. cynthia says:

    i wish ee were still alive… i think this poem is about love and its power over us. love is something abstract, something we cannot touch or see. but it compels us to open or close like a flower. i still wish we can all ask him though… sigh

  12. GIRA DESIA says:

    Cummings wrote from his heart…and soul…from within his own mind and feelings..he poured out what filled him up… some good some painful…some beautiful…some tragic…what he wrote he lived and through his sometimes twisted, sometimes confusing, sometimes misinterperited, sometimes mispelled and tangled….web of words… we all are able to be taken in by his ability to captivate each of us enough to wrote comments here…we could have kept our thoughts to ourselves…but we didnt…we shared…maybe not caring realy who would read them later on…but enough to write the words outloud…to express our feelings on how we were made to feel by his ability to make us do just that…and that is the true magic & beauty of everything that the brilliant word artist writes and stood for…dont just seize the day- seize the moments…

  13. Amanda says:

    i love this poem so much… it takes my breath away!

  14. Ginger says:

    Unfortunately I did travel there once, and it brought great heartache. But it was still worth it. Love is sometimes bittersweet. This poem is exactly what I feel for this person, for some reason he touches something that no one can and I let him go. Cummings was a genius to be able to put love and the way it can touch us in such terms.

  15. stefanie siering says:

    these beautifull words inspired me a lot to my artwork .thank you,mr cummings

  16. brokenopen says:

    i have heard of this poem out from a famous song but it mattered so much to me now that i understand what it means when i myself been to an experience where i have loved so much but then so unfortunate that i cannot have his love. though i am in pain, though i am sad, i never regret a thing for i was happiest when i met him. the experience led me to a great discovery of myself, of this life, of love…it taught me to be brave and gave importance of honesty…and so i quote “i do not know about you that closes and opens, only something in me understands, the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses, nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”.

  17. Tin says:

    The best poem ever written. My favorite. I simply fall in love with every words and inspires me to hold on with what matters. That love is beyond physical aspect, it’s more of the inner being. The self, The soul.

  18. Jason says:

    I’m here, three days before my wedding, to copy this poem for our program, since I introduced my wife to this poem years ago. I stumbled across the comments section, and began reading some of the posts. On page 10, I find this…..

    Comment 12 of 103, added on November 19th, 2004 at 11:25 AM.

    I was in high school when I first came across this poem. It was a Senior English class, and we were going through a poetry lesson. My teacher was impressed I had already heard it and asked the class how to interpret it. Again, I was the only one with a raised hand and probably the only one who gave a damn and wasn’t nodding off. Anyways, from then on he called me the ‘poet lauriate’ and it was such an honor since he was an amazing teacher that is now retired.

    Jenn from United States

    Now this “Jenn” who posted this comment, unbeknownst to me almost three years ago, is a longtime friend and will be a bridesmaid at my wedding. The teacher she speaks of is my father, who I also learned the poem from in high school. Wow, sometimes life takes bizarre turns. Thanks, mr cummings, for speaking a language that’s truly universal.

  19. Emily says:

    From our point of view it is as if the relationship is one-sided. He being so in love with everything about her he is blind to the fact that she doesn’t give anything in return. But maybe this is what love is suppose to be. If you are truly in love you should be under the other person’s spell, and blind when it comes to their flaws because they are small compared to their perfections.

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