Feeling is First
by E. E. Cummings
interpreted by Magali Denard
feeling is first
pays any attention
the syntax of things
never wholly kiss you;
to be a fool
Spring is in the world
kisses are a better fate
i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
best gesture of my brain is less than
eyelids' flutterwhich says
are for each other:then
leaning back in my arms
life's not a paragraph
death i think is no parenthesis
Poet: edward estlin Cummings was born in
Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 14 of 1894. his mother, Rebecca, first
showed him how to write poems. Cummings was twelve when he became a freshman
in high school. He attended Harvard and graduated in 1916. He was both
a poet and a painter during his lifetime. As a poet, he was first recognized
by readers because of his odd ways of phrasing and punctuation. During
WWI, he served with an ambulance corps in France. He was arrested as a
spy and imprisoned for a while.One of his first books published was based
on these war experiences. He wrote twelve volumes of poetry during his
life. Cummings died on September 3 of 1962 in North Conway, New Hampshire.
Vocabulary: Syntax - the way in which words
are put together to form sentences, clauses, and phrases.
Type of poem: Lyric
Speaker: The speaker is someone who likes
living for the moment, presumably the author.
Audience: The audience is the speaker's lover.
Tone: This poem's tone is both light-hearted
Meaning: The author means that feelings come before everything
else, and since this is so, anyone who pays attention to how things are
supposed to be will never be capable of knowing another's true nature.
During Spring, he approves of pure foolishness. He believes that love
is much better than being wise, and swears to his love that any gesture
he could come up with could never compare to something simple like her
eyelid's flutter, since it shows their love for each other. The speaker
tells her to forget everything else and just enjoy the moment because
life must not be a certain way; each person can decide their fate, and
he thinks that death is not a sign that anything has ended between them.
Structure of poem: Free verse
Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:
not a paragraph" & "And death i think is no parenthesis"
blood approves" "the best gesture of my brain" "eyelids
flutter, which says/ we are for each other"
whole poem is a conceit, since in it, the author compares feelings
Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or
times: The author was a very individualistic sort of person,
for example, he legally changed his name to lower cased letters. This
poem describes his views on life.
Most memorable quote from the poem: "Life's not a paragraph/And
death I think is no parenthesis"
© Smelli Notes 2001