what if a much of a which of a wind… (XX)

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer’s lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
-when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of things
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
-whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it’s they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn’t: blow death towas)
-all nothing’s only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live.

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem what if a much of a which of a wind… (XX)

19 Comments

  1. michelene says:

    what would the tone of this poem be?

  2. Andrea says:

    lyricism and violent images juxtaposed. but the optimist that ee cummings was comes through in the lines

    -whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
    it’s they shall cry hello to the spring

    I agree that this is cummings reaction to the war when all was turned upside down and the world lost its soul –

  3. Lil Gibson says:

    To me it’s a rumination–What if everything we believe to be true is actually a lie? And I mean everything like our concept of reality. (one thing that has irked me tecnically about the poem is the line “Blow King to begger and Queen to seem” It makes more sense to say ‘seam’ instead of ‘seem’)

  4. Audrey says:

    This poem is ultimately about the destruction of the world – a third World War. Technology, usually thought of as beneficial to mankind, slowly destroying the society it was meant to help improve. “screaming hills with sleet and snow” and a wind that “strangles valleys by ropes of things” is a detailed description of the destruction caused by the incendiary raids used in WWII. “the most who die (Germans and Japanese) the mroe we live” (Americans). Cummings uses inverted sentence structure to create a scene of chaos – the same felt in a city or town that has just been air raided. This poem was after all written in 1944…

  5. Kathy says:

    this poem made me see the possibility of another dimension;an image of a mirrored existence of our existence as we know it in this dimension;taking reality as we know it and litteraly turning it inside out. amazing, brilliant, adrenalin rush max!

  6. Anne Sexton says:

    I have always love this poem and have never forgotten the first line. I love ee cummings in general. I too don’t like using capital letters!

  7. Sheri says:

    what if a much of a which of a wind

    what if a much of a which of a wind
    gives the truth to summer’s lie;
    bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
    and yanks immortal stars awry?
    Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
    (blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
    -when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
    the single secret will still be man

    what if a keen of a lean wind flays
    screaming hills with sleet and snow:
    strangles valleys by ropes of thing
    and stifles forests in white ago?
    Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
    (blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
    -whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
    it’s they shall cry hello to the spring

    what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
    bites this universe in two,
    peels forever out of his grave
    and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
    Blow soon to never and never to twice
    (blow life to isn’t; blow death to was)
    -all nothing’s only our hugest home;
    the most who die, the more we live

    — e. e. cummings

  8. Rebeca says:

    Could someone please write the complete poem on this site or send it to me? I would love to have it written because I just heard it a few days ago but I can´t find it anywhere and I ordered the book but it takes a while to get here. Thanks

  9. Jackie says:

    I really liked this poem because it really showed how “liberal” he really was. If you notice their are colins, semicolins, and capitolization that is not right. He was really able to express how he did not care what the “rules” were. If thats how he wanted to write it, then why couldn’t he. And because of his “liberal-niss”, he is one of the best known writers of history.

  10. Rebecca says:

    THose were……..completely okay. I mean don’t get me wrong I liked them, they just didn’t have that umpf. Ya know?

  11. Megan says:

    Okay- so this is my take…
    ee cummings is totally predicting the future. Its kind of dark and almost pesimistic the first time through but after you read it like 20 times- you see where he was going with it.Lines 9-12 relate back to the secret that is man. The screaming hills arent hills at all- but a human. (Picture human anatomy for a moment) “strangles valleys by ropes of things” instestines, veins, ligaments?? line 15- ” whose heartts are mountain, roots are trees- Talking about the strong people who could survuve a much of a which of a wind. “what if a dawn of a doom of a dream”- thats the beginning of a great and terrible end. “and sprinkles nowhere you and me”- when its all over we will be nothing and belong nowhere
    I dont really know what to say about the last 2 lines- I dont know what to make of them..????

  12. Bryce says:

    Hint: The wind symbolizes time.

  13. nick says:

    no matter what you must know that nothing will live forever despite how it seems, that is the truth behind summers lie, in summer every thing looks alive and it seems that it will stay that way

  14. jerv says:

    This is a poem that defentaly deals with the experience,fear, and hardships of living in a World War type of envirnment. One question I am not sure of is if Cummings tone is positive or negative. The first read through it seems negative and depressing, however the more you analize the poem it seems to be positive while mantaning a negative outlook on what Must Come To Be, “The End Of The World”

  15. William says:

    Each line of this poem can be broken down to have something to do with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

    Carefully examine it. Take the lines “Blow soon to never; blow never to twice/ Blow life to isn’t; blow death to was” for example: the explosion of the atomic bomb firstly indefinitely postponed the invasion of Japan, secondly made mass killing a reality twice, thirdly ended the life of many Japanese, and fourthly saved the lives of thousands of Americans.

  16. MIke says:

    I take it as a commentary on the inherent evil of mankind, maybe its duality. It seems he is asking what if all this insanity is happening all around us. All of these polar opposites are unraveling; the single secret will still be man. Man does and undoes his existence, the most who die the more we live. We must destroy to survive. It is incredibly ironic that the sound of the poem is so perfect and rolls off the tongue with such ease.
    just my 2 cynical cents

  17. MOKHTAR says:

    The body of man dies but soul is alive
    ths is the secret that the soul is unchangeable.

  18. Hatsumiyo-chan says:

    I agree with you, Megan! It’s totally cool to say aloud! ^_^ EE Cummings did a really good job on this poem! It’s one of my favorites, and, in my opinion, one of his best! It totally shows humanity as it is and will be…

  19. Megan says:

    To me, this poem is about an apocalypse of pure winter. A great wind of destruction destroys the stars, covers the earth with snow, makes the sun appear bloody by blowing dead, fallen autumn leaves all over the place, causing chaos and destruction. Because of all this, humanity is forced to be true to its own nature in order to survive – royalty is no better, but in fact worse than regular people, friends are enemies when the tides have turned, etc. However, with all the death will emerge survivors who will be able to stay alive in the midst of all the dying.

    That is my humble interpretation of the poem, but seriously? I mainly love it because it’s so cool to say aloud. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Kathy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by e.e. cummings better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.