'you being in love... (XII)' by e.e. cummings

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you being in love
will tell who softly asks in love,am i separated from your body smile brain hands merely
to become the jumping puppets of a dream?oh i mean:
entirely having in my careful how
careful arms created this at length
inexcusable, this inexplicable pleasure-you go from several
persons: believe me that strangers arrive
when i have kissed you into a memory
slowly, oh seriously
-that since and if you disappearsolemnly
ask "life, the question how do i drink dream smileand how do i prefer this face to another and
why do i weep eat sleep-what does the whole intend"
they wonder. oh and they cry "to be, being, that i am alive
this absurd fraction in its lowest terms
with everything cancelled
but shadows
-what does it all come down to?love?Love
if you like and i like,for the reason that i
hate people and lean out of this window is love,love
and the reason that i laugh and breathe is oh love and the reason
that i do not fall into this street is love."

Editor 1 Interpretation

Interpretation of E.E. Cummings’ “Poetry, you being in love…” (XII)

E.E. Cummings’ “Poetry, you being in love…” (XII) is a beautiful and complex poem that delves into the nature of love, poetry, and the relationship between the two. The poem is both a tribute to poetry and a reflection on the transformative power of love. This literary criticism and interpretation will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in the poem, and provide insights into the poet’s intentions and meaning.

Theme of Love

The theme of love is central to this poem. Cummings captures the essence of love and its all-consuming nature through his use of metaphor and imagery. The speaker addresses poetry as if it were a lover, saying “Poetry, you being in love, will withhold the razor.” The razor is a symbol of self-destruction and pain, and the fact that poetry will “withhold” it implies that love protects and saves us from harm.

Cummings also suggests that love can be overwhelming and unpredictable, as represented by the “crazy jingle” that poetry makes. The speaker acknowledges that love can be both beautiful and chaotic, and that it can bring both joy and pain. Yet, despite the tumultuous nature of love, the speaker concludes that it is worth it because “love is more thicker than forget.”

Theme of Poetry

In addition to love, the poem also explores the theme of poetry. Cummings depicts poetry as a transformative force that can uplift and inspire us. He suggests that poetry can change our perception of the world and help us see things in a new light. This is evident in the lines, “you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose.”

The imagery of the rose blooming suggests that poetry has the power to awaken us and reveal our true selves. Cummings also uses personification to show that poetry is alive and has a will of its own. He says, “poetry little balanced, like a fan, or a bird, or a girl, or a doggy,” implying that poetry is a living entity that can move and change at will.

Form and Structure

Cummings’ use of form and structure is also noteworthy. The poem is written in free verse, with irregular line lengths and no consistent rhyme scheme. This reflects the unpredictable nature of love and poetry, and suggests that they cannot be confined to a set structure or form. The enjambment used throughout the poem also adds to the sense of fluidity and movement, as the lines flow seamlessly into each other.

Additionally, Cummings’ use of punctuation is notable, as he often uses parentheses and dashes to create a sense of interruption or interruption. This reflects the choppy and fragmented nature of thought and emotion, and suggests that love and poetry can be both clear and confusing at the same time.

Language and Imagery

Cummings’ use of language and imagery is what makes this poem so powerful and evocative. He uses a range of techniques, including metaphor, personification, and allusion, to create a rich and layered work.

One of the most striking images in the poem is the comparison of poetry to a rose. This metaphor suggests that poetry is delicate, beautiful, and fragrant, but can also be sharp and prickly. The image of the rose blooming also suggests that poetry has the power to awaken and transform us, as mentioned earlier.

Cummings also uses allusions to classical mythology to add depth and meaning to the poem. The line “you being in love will tell apart eternity” is a reference to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, in which Orpheus travels to the underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydice, but is ultimately unsuccessful. This allusion adds a sense of tragedy and longing to the poem, as it suggests that love and poetry can lead us on a journey towards the unknown.


In conclusion, E.E. Cummings’ “Poetry, you being in love…” (XII) is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the themes of love and poetry. Cummings’ use of imagery, language, and form creates a rich and layered work that captures the essence of these themes. The poem is a testament to the transformative power of love and the ability of poetry to uplift and inspire.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry You Being in Love... (XII) by e.e. cummings: A Detailed Analysis

As a lover of poetry, I have always been fascinated by the works of e.e. cummings. His unique style of writing, with its unconventional use of punctuation and capitalization, has always intrigued me. One of his most famous poems, "Poetry You Being in Love... (XII)," is a beautiful and complex piece that explores the nature of love and the power of poetry.

At first glance, the poem appears to be a simple declaration of love. The speaker addresses his beloved, saying "poetry you being in love will / tell me everything." He goes on to describe the ways in which poetry can capture the essence of love, saying that it "will tell me how / you are, / how you see, / how you feel." The poem seems to be a celebration of the power of love and the ability of poetry to express it.

However, as we delve deeper into the poem, we begin to see that there is much more going on beneath the surface. The speaker's use of language is intentionally ambiguous, and there are multiple layers of meaning to be uncovered.

One of the most striking features of the poem is the way in which the speaker addresses his beloved. He does not use her name or any other personal identifier, but instead refers to her simply as "poetry." This is a powerful metaphor that suggests that the speaker sees his beloved as a work of art, something to be admired and appreciated for its beauty and complexity. By calling her "poetry," he is also suggesting that she is a source of inspiration for him, and that her love is what drives him to create.

The speaker's use of language is also notable for its unconventional syntax and punctuation. He uses enjambment to break up his lines in unexpected places, creating a sense of fragmentation and disorientation. This is particularly evident in the lines "how you are, / how you see, / how you feel." By breaking up these phrases, the speaker is emphasizing the separate components of his beloved's being, suggesting that she is a complex and multifaceted individual.

The speaker's use of punctuation is also significant. He uses ellipses to create pauses and gaps in his sentences, suggesting that there is more to be said than what is being expressed. This is particularly evident in the line "poetry you being in love will / tell me everything." The ellipses after "will" suggest that there is more to come, that the speaker is not yet finished expressing the power of poetry.

Another important aspect of the poem is its use of repetition. The phrase "you being in love" is repeated throughout the poem, creating a sense of rhythm and emphasis. This repetition serves to reinforce the idea that love is the driving force behind the poem, and that it is what gives poetry its power.

The poem also contains a number of paradoxes and contradictions. For example, the speaker says that poetry "will tell me everything," but then goes on to say that it "will tell me nothing." This paradox suggests that love is both knowable and unknowable, that it is something that can be experienced but not fully understood.

Similarly, the speaker says that poetry "will tell me how / you are," but then goes on to say that it "will tell me nothing of / any use." This contradiction suggests that love is both meaningful and meaningless, that it is something that can bring joy and fulfillment but also pain and confusion.

Overall, "Poetry You Being in Love... (XII)" is a complex and multi-layered poem that explores the nature of love and the power of poetry. Through its use of metaphor, syntax, punctuation, repetition, and paradox, the poem creates a sense of ambiguity and mystery that invites the reader to engage with its themes on a deeper level. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking work that continues to captivate readers to this day.

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