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“anyone lived in a pretty how town”

”anyone lived in a pretty how town?” By reading this first line in the poem, I knew trouble was lurking ahead in the rest of the poem, but I still read on. After reading the last line I had closed my eyes and rested for a minute. My brain had been turned into mush, “That poem made no sense whatsoever; I don’t like this poem at all.” I had said in an ignorant tone. Shortly after my brains had turned to mush, Mr. Rodriguez told us (the class) to read the poem again, and again, and again. Questions about this poem had entered my brain repeatedly, one after the other. During this questioning process Mr. Rodriguez had told us that anyone was a man and that noone was a woman. A feeling came over me, a kind of feeling you endure when you finally understand or comprehend what’s going on. From then on, the lines in this poem kept making more and more sense to me.

For instance the line that reads “(with up so floating many bells down),” was talking about the sounds of church bells descending down among the people. I thought of church bells because what other place has a bell or bells that hang high in the air? The most common time church bells are rung are during weddings. In the first line of the fifth stanza we read, “Someones married their everyones.” Another statement about marriage–this leads me to believe that one of themes of this poem has to do with marriage. Which means the poem must be about love if it contains themes about marriage. We read that “Noone loved him more by more,” in the last line of the third stanza. We also read in the last line of stanza four that “Anyone’s any was all to her.” Two wonderful examples that prove this poem is about love; about how everyone loves everyone, but wait! I see that “Women and men (both little and small) cared for anyone not at all,” in the first two lines of the second stanza. How can both women and men be little and small? Doesn’t cummings mean “both large and small?” No, cummings is playing with our minds here because we’re so used to seeing “large and small” not “little and small.” What cummings is referring to is both women and men had very little of, or not any personality at all. Also, their hearts were small, meaning that they didn’t care about anyone but themselves. When I read these two lines, I think of those certain millionaire couples who can’t be seen with people from the middle or lower class. They’re not really happy either; they just have a ton of money and love it (the money) rather than each other or anyone else. Which bring me to my next point; I don’t think the “someones and everyones” were very happy when they got married; I don’t even think they loved each other. Just read the next line, “laughed their crying and did their dance.” When I think of someone “laughing their crying” I think of someone putting on a mask and crying just to be crying; while on the inside of that mask they find it amusing to cry. I think “and did their dance” follows the same guidelines as “laughed their crying.” They just danced because that’s what you do after say your vows and after the crying is over.

Well, you’re probably asking yourself, “What happened to anyone and noone?” To tell you the truth I’m not sure, but I do know that “anyone had died” and “noone stooped to kiss his face.” Eventually, they both had died and “busy folk had buried them side by side.” Wow, the rest of the townspeople found it in their hardened hearts to bury “anyone and noone.” Nah, not a chance, I think they thought it was the proper thing to do. Just like the crying and dancing they had done in the weddings in the past. I say past because I don’t know how many years had gone by since the weddings. Stuck in these poems are lines that contain the seasons, “spring summer autumn winter.” Throughout the poem, the sequence of the seasons change to “autumn winter spring summer” and “summer autumn winter spring.” The change in sequences represent time passing. Another way cummings has shown time passing is through the way he organized each stanza. It seems as if the first stanza should be the last stanza, and the second stanza should be the first stanza. My reasoning for this is simple; there are only two periods in this poem; which also means there are only two capitalization’s in this entire poem. One capitalization at the beginning of the second stanza and the other at the beginning of the last stanza. Notice the first word in the poem isn’t capitalized? Cummings is just cycling all the stanzas in this poem. Personally, I think cummings doesn’t want this poem to end because in a small way he’s showing us the circle of life.

In this circle of life lies sadness, happiness, love, and hate. Also, I think cummings was telling us that very few people today, achieve their dreams and experience true happiness. As in the case of the townspeople; they married each other just to get married; they didn’t love each other. The poem states that they “said their nevers they slept their dreams.” Which I believe means that the townspeople had dreams, but never pursued them; they just “slept their dreams.” On the other hand “anyone and noone” continue to “dream their sleep.” Meaning that they had accomplished their dreams; they had gotten married (we assume because they were buried side by side). They were happy together, and the rest of the townspeople who didn’t care for them were miserable. Eventually the townspeople “reaped their sowing and went their came.” They reaped what they sowed and then died.


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