The Last Poem I Loved: “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond” by E. E. Cummings


“Somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond” is not only the Last Poem I Loved, it also is actually the first. The way its writer (of whom I shall elaborate later on) likens one fine woman to flowers (and to a flowers’ heart) is the way I think women want to be looked at. To me the poem signifies the hard work of searching for words, looking for their inner beauty, and refining your sentences until they reach the point of being completed almost so absolutely, it is better to abandon them, and call the poem finished. It’s nature’s way.

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though I have closed myself as fingers
you open always petal by petal myself as Springs opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously)her first rose

The way “Spring” is given the poem’s only capital, it is clear that spring is, in this case, the being above all other beings; the true force of nature which the writer loves so much. Nature and the lady alternate each other as the main theme; interwoven with love as their common ground they dance and take turns leading. It is almost never done subtle, though the woman is thought of as fragile (just like the flower) and the man as one lost in his words.

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

He was, at moments, lost in his words, but E.E. Cummings made experimental and avant-garde poetry attractive to the reader, and he made the entire genre attractive to me. I love his book of selected poems (edited by Richard S. Kennedy, his biographer) with its various green leaves and silhouette of a magpie on the front cover, that always feels like it has just been taken to the beach and you got the wipe the sand of. I got the book for Christmas from my dad, who is, shall I say, a fowler at rest with an unusual interest in plants and flowers. Also of some importance is the fact that he hates poetry. He cannot stand to read it, or listen to it. But at Christmas he wanted to make an exception; he wanted to know what he had given me. So I read it to him, in a somewhat unusual voice, a bit insecure, but strengthening towards the final verse. The poem ends in a way all poems should end: with a subtle conclusion, carefully hidden in a metaphor poets all around the world seem to like: nature’ s grace.

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

It is love that has its way, as does Spring, and I tried to follow that. My dad liked the poem, although he still has a hard time listening to (experimental) poetry. But he sits and waits as I recite Oscar Wilde and Jules Renard, because he knows in time I will be done and he can tell me about the morning he went cycling and under a clear blue sky he saw a blackbird and this particularly wonderful flower.

Luuk is a Dutch writer whose short story, The Impenetrable Thoughts Of William's New Brain, was published by Mirador Publishing in England. He came in second in a theatre writing competition in London; and in May some of his poetry was published in Belgium. In Holland he writes columns for radio and television, and reviews films, music and art and interviews interesting artists for an online lifestyle magazine. More from this author →