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anyone lived in a pretty how town... (29)

e.e. cummings

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Added by: Poopie poo
this is a very interesting poem that i do undertand unlike all the unsmart people on this site and i'm like half their age o well
Added by: Lisa G.
This poem is unique because it sounds like it could have been written by a child although it was written by an adult presumably for an adult audience. This gives it a whimsical, endearing quality. In addition, the sing-songiness of the poem makes it very memorable.

I think this poem is about an optimistic dreamer who lives in a world populated mainly by cynical pessimists. Like a child, this dreamer believes that anything is possible and lives life with enthusiasm. The pessimists, on the other hand, are much more “adult” and less apt to dream than they are to ask: “How could that possibly happen?” Hence the pretty “how” town. The people of this town sow their “isn’t” and reap their same. They believe that nothing amazing will ever happen and of course it never does for them.

Because of the line “with up so floating many bells down,” which does seem to be utter nonsense, I think the poem must be describing an imaginary town. It is a fairy tale of sorts. I wonder if maybe the “bells” are actually the inhabitants of the town, because at the end he calls women and men dong and ding. Or maybe the bells in the town just ring differently for men and women. Who knows.
the floating bells
Added by: Everyone
About the bells...I, too, was confused about the meaning of the bells. The bells seem to be closely associated with the town, always mentioned directly after a reference to the town or the everyone/someone townspeople. Because clocks are an artificial measurement of time, something that adults would be slaves to while children would be oblivious to, they seem to reinforce that larger theme of the poem (even more so than the progression of a day or the passing of the seasons)...as we grow older and fall into the artificial patterns of life that simultaneously make our lives easier AND less meaningful, we become disconnected and ultimately unhappy.
EE Cummings
Added by: LeAnna
I love this poem. This has be far become my favorite! I love the thoughts, and emotions that it evokes. This goes for most all of his poems. I think he is an amazing poet.
"Pretty How Town"
Added by: Michelle
This was the first eec poem I'd ever read. Once I understood it he instantly became the greatest poet ever in my mind. I learned more about him. He is refering to a society of conformists, 'everyones and someones', vs. those who live as they please, 'anyone and noone,' "up so floating many bells down" either refers to the houses all being decorated the same, with bells dangling, or a town filled with church bells. eec did not believe in Christianity. The conformists in this poem were avid church goers, yet they were much more miserable(they slept their dreams) than anyone and noone (they lived their dreams).
Added by: Frankie
I like e.e.cummings poem "anyone lived in a pritty how town"
because if you put in names when it says "anyone" and "noone" it means something.
So hats why i like it.
Added by: anyone
For a long time, I just enjoyed the rhythm and imagery of this poem, and those impossibly beautiful gems such as "only the snow can begin to explain"....

It took me a while to actually see a structure: that there are people (women and men, little and small, someones, everyones, busy folk), a couple (anyone and noone), and children (some of whom still see what's happening between anyone and noone).

I don't know if it's useful to analyze every single word in the poem -- I see a love story between two people who are different from the rest, I see children, and I see the rest of the people who go on about their life, who give up their dreams ("sleep wake hope and then they said their nevers", "they sowed their isn't") and live a monotonous life ("they reaped their same") full of pretense ("laughed their cryings"). For me, "sun rain stars moon" and "spring summer autumn winter" stand for the passage of time, and the "up so floating many bells" for all the material things we surround ourselves with so we can occupy ourselves instead of caring for anyone.
Added by: Marissa
I think its incredible how the opinions of those who have commented on this poem differ...isn't it amazing to see how people draw such different messages from the poem, and who really knows what his intended message was? I find this poem incredibly beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time, like i want to smile at the beauty and simplicity of the sweet relationship portrayed on the surface....but reaching a bit deeper allows sadness to creep in, at the facelessness of the people in this poem....would you want to settle for being just another happy couple living a simple life and dying without being known or missed, even if you knew what love meant?
Added by: Absorbed
I believe that "women and men (both dong and ding)" refers to the "up so floating many bells down" line. The former seems to suggest that women and men are both two seperate manifestations of the same thing, or the dong and ding of the bell.
E.E. Cummings; Poems
Added by: Js
If you are searching for poems that have no underlying meaning, I strongly suggest you to look elsewhere. I have never read one poem written by Cummings that could be understood without further thought.

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