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next to of course god america i... (III)

e.e. cummings

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Added by: Margy Scott
With the headlong rush into war with Iraq, I find myself thinking of this poem often. We may not recognize all of the fragments of oversaid sayings from the time in which this poem was written, but the same rhetoric is being used today, with slightly different words.
Notice that God is but an afterthought, barely acknowleged. The speaker is lost in a blind and ugly worship of a country, similar to the worship of a sports team. The speaker is so confused (but doesn't know it) that he simultaneously praises liberty and an absence of liberty in the same breath. No wonder he needed a big drink.
Added by: Rosie
It seems to me, that this is some kind of political speech, seeing as how the glass of water is so readily available. In my opinion, it is a spontaneous fillibuster of sorts on his part. He starts out praising his country, so as to avoid offending, and set the audience up for the blow which he hastily deals, after a slew of cliches, which get progressively more negative. In one breath, he states that he loves America, but does not love her war, for it seems to silence freedom.
Added by: professor
this poem has many meanings. first and possibly the most funny one is that ee cummings needed money when he wrote this poem. he published this is Feline Quarterly (magazine about cats) hence the "lions". in addition, poems about lions were very popular during that time thanks to a canadian poet. and then it was performed in 1957 by a broadway actor when he forgot his lines. after that, it became popular and wellknown.

second is undoubtedly the most clever interpretation is that he is comparing america to a gladiator arena in ancient rome.... in fact, words such as "by gorry, by jingo by gee by gosh by gum" come from latin roots of the word that roughly means "toy with the opponent" and chants that romans yelled when they disagreed with the final decision. this is fitting since ee cummings was conveying the distress during that time in our history.

lastly, it is clearly a poem about hidden rhetorics and lost meaning of liberty. politicians use this tactic often and ee cummings is satirically mocking them while simultaneously confusing the readers to a point of making them think there is a deep meaning behind what is beind said when there really isn't. gullibility of the public is a scary and powerful thing.

peace kids.
Added by: Mucks
I think the glass of water is meant to reference ventriloquists, who will often drink a glass of water as they make their puppet talk. The person is reciting what he's heard, and not thinking for himself. He is, in effect, a puppet.
next to of course god america
Added by: Iyad Nimer
Simply the poet expresses his deep love to his country. However, the poet became unbalanced and lost concentration due to the acts of politicians who distorts America's democracy and love of freedom. He seems to be given a political speech criticizing those who launches war that is unnecessary for the country. He got tired and thirsty and thus needed a drink.

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