What are the differences between e.e. cummings views of spring in the poems in Just and O sweet spontaneous?

A common theme between some of e.e. cummings’ poems is that of spring. He often expresses the joys of spring and two poems that do this are “in Just” and “O sweet spontaneous.” Since Cummings often ignores the rules of punctuation and grammar in literature and poetry, it can at times make his poems more difficult to understand. Although the two poems mentioned center around different themes, they both go back to spring at the end of the poem. But how do the poems differ in their themes and do they demonstrate the same views of spring? Taking the time to analyze both poems and to see how others have interpreted the poems can answer this question.

The poem “in Just”, the entire theme of the poem is spring. The majority of the poem talks about the joys of that first day of spring. The wonderful feeling of waking up and seeing the signs of spring. Cummings describes the world as being “mud-luscious” which can describe the joy that children get from the mud and puddles around this time of year. According to a source however, the only not cheerful part of this poem is the “lame balloonman.” They claim that the word lame means he has a limp and that he is out of place in spring. Everything is new on the first day of spring, but he is old which does not fit the theme (http://literatureworms.blogspot.com/2012/06/ee-cummings-in-just-spring.html). Although he is described as out of place, he is still seems to be ok with it as he is constantly whistling. The source claims that this poem contains a very creative and excitable aspect. Many words are made up throughout the course of the poem such as “puddle-wonderful”, and the fact that the names are clumped together as if it is one name such as “eddieandbill” shows how excited the speaker is that they are talking so quickly that their words are not distinguishable one from the other. The fact that spring frequently has its own line in the poem is also described as a sign of the importance of this season. They also claim that the balloonman could be a satyr since he has goat feet and is whistling. Satyr’s look like goats from the waist down and are constantly carrying a pipe. Overall this source states that the poem expresses a joy and excitement about how wonderful the first day of spring is. The only question left to ponder is whether the balloonman is creepy or friendly? (http://literatureworms.blogspot.com/2012/06/ee-cummings-in-just-spring.html)
The image below shows what spring may look like when it first begins. Although the leaves have still not come back, the flowers are beginning to bloom which shows signs that winter is over. It describes the joyous feeling Cummings is trying to capture.

Unlike the poem “in Just”, the theme of the poem “O sweet spontaneous” is not entirely about spring, although it still implies the beauty of spring. The main purpose of this poem is how e.e. cummings explains how beautiful mother earth is, and how man destroys it. He states how philosophers, scientists, and religious people have used the earth to fill their own wants and needs without thinking about the consequences. “has the naughty thumb of science prodded thy” clearly describes what e.e. cummings is feeling towards the world of science (http://www.poemofquotes.com/eecummings/o-sweet-spontaneous.php). A source claims that all the pollution due to science is destroying its beauty and that is the theme of the entire poem. The final line of the poem is “Thou answerest them only with spring” which states that the earth answers all pollution man has created, by giving more life (http://www.free-college-essays.com/Poetry/6885-O_Sweet_Spontaneous_-_Linguistic_Analysis_Of_Poem_By_Ee_Cumm.html). Spring is a time of growth of new plants and animals are able to come back due to the fact that the weather is no longer as cold and the day length is now long enough. This is bringing life back to the earth. The stillness of the winter is gone and the beauty of spring is coming. Although plenty of damage has been done to the earth due to man, life goes on and spring will come anyways (http://www.poemofquotes.com/eecummings/o-sweet-spontaneous.php). This is where it relates to the previous poem. Although the overall message being portrayed in this poem is different, the two poems can agree on one thing: spring is a beautiful time of year.

After reading both of the poems, I had noticed that spring had been mentioned in both and it seems that Cummings views spring as the most beautiful and exciting time of year. In the poem “in Just”, I feel that the way Cummings wrote the poem was strategically planned in order to convey the message of excitement and make the poem seem like it was written from the perspective of a little kid. Clumping two names together and the made up words convey the joy of spring and what a beautiful time of year. Although some people may view the balloonman as creepy because he is constantly around and whistling, I feel as though he is a part of the poem and since the rest of the poem centers around a theme of joy, why wouldn’t he be a part of the joy. I feel as though the reason all the children come running to see him is because they are excited for the balloons and his presence. In the poem “O sweet spontaneous”, the theme is slightly more depressing. The destruction of mother earth is clearly something that Cummings has taken notice to and is not pleased with, but yet the earth continues to rewards us every year with the gift of life during the spring time. Although the themes of the poems are not the same, I feel as though Cummings chose to describe spring in the same way. It is a beautiful time of year that can bring joy, life, and all kinds of new things to man. Whether it is making a child happy or indicating that life goes on, it is still something that everyone should take the time to appreciate.


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