Somewhere I Have Never Travelled
There was a time in my life when I dreamed of becoming a poet. But it wasn’t meant to be. In my senior year in high school, I was designated the class clown. It followed that when nobody thought of you seriously, you couldn’t be a poet. It was also by that time that I started questioning my motivation. I realized that all I wanted was to impress the girls. Of course, it wasn’t good enough to win favors from the gods.
Still I persisted in the pursuit. After a couple years, I finally abandoned the idea. No love lost. I found girls weren’t interested in my poetry, anyway.
You must have heard the saying that those who can’t write, teach. In my case, I can’t teach either. so, what that leaves me? I can, at least, read and appreciate a great poem when I see one.
In one of her letters, Emily Dickinson said, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Somewhere I Have Never Travelled by e.e. cummings falls under this category. This is one poem I’d love to have written myself. It could well be one of the best love poems ever written.
somewhere i have never travelled
by e.e. cummings
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
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
(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
In this poem, the poet speaks beautifully of his love for a woman. He thinks of her as frail but at the same time he extols the power within that fragility. She can either open him (give him life as “you open always petal by petal myself as Springs opens … her first rose”) or close him (kill him slowly “as the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending”).
Every time I read this poem I remember my first love. Such is the power of a great poem.