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pity this busy monster,manunkind... (XIV)

e.e. cummings

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Added by: Amir Akhlaghi
this poem is simply awesome
its a great example of ee cummings's style of poetry
differnt meanings depending on how you read it and where you stop.
Added by: George Middleton
Unwish is what astronomers do with stars. Everything except wish on them.
Added by: George Middleton
I would like to expand on the comment I put up there ^. The reason is that I have searched the web and can find no explanation of the lines that begin "lenses extend...." These clearly describe a telescope *and* what the telescope does. E.E.Cummings is clearly writing about the wonder of science as it was at the time of writing the poem. But he plays with words, "curving wherewhen" is another way of describling the theory of the curvature of space and time as described by Einstein and the idea that if you looked far enough you would see your own back. (The Big Bang theory has queried this idea).
As I stated above, astronomers are interested in everything about stars, they measure their size, brightness, distance, temperature. but one thing they don't do is what everybody else does, they do not *wish* on a star. None of the dictionaries defines the *noun*, "unwish". They only give definition for the word as a verb. So Cummings made up this new word to descibe what these clever scientists do.

I would be very interested if anyone can find an explanation for the meaning of "unwish (n)" in any book or dictionary.
Please e-mail me if you know differently.
lenses extend
Added by: Shannon
I do not agree with the above person's explanation of "lenses extend". Instead of a telescopic view i see it more as a panoramic view. As also stated by "into a mountainrange". Kind of a larger then life kind of view. As also proven by "plays with the bigness of his littleness". Kind of like delusions of greatness.
Added by: kristina
plays with the bigness of his littleness
--electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange

It reminds me of the atomic bomb.
electrons & lenses
Added by: Kristen L'Anglois
I think that George Middleton had it right when he spoke of the telescope and Einstein, but I think the electron reference is speaking of electron microscopes, which make the tiniest little things (which are small enough to fit on a razor edge) seem as enormous as whole mountain ranges. Hypermagical ultraomnipotence - we have become so focused on minutiae that we no longer see the big, beautiful world around us. When we DO look at the big beautiful world around us, it is to discover information, not to enjoy it for what it is. Knowledge has become an end in itself, to the exclusion of enjoyment of life & nature. Anybody for taking him up on a move to the world next door?
death and life safely beyond
Added by: Sam
there is a line in this poem that i cannot seem to understand "its victim (death and life safely beyond)" referring to the victim of the disease Progress (or perhaps the victim of those afflicted with progress) And what is death and life safely beyond? the only thing safely beyond life and death would be... god? or is death and life safely beyond the side effect of this disease? or what the victim of those afflicted with this disease experience? oye... e.e. cummings.....
Added by: William Davis
This poem talks about the triviality of science; "lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself."
The lenses extending are the scientists/physicists peering into the "curving [spacetime]" until they end up back at where they were in the first place, essentially getting nowhere. Meanwhile, everyone else just "wishes" and is happy with that.

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