Photo Credit: New York Botanical Garden

Monday mornings are best begun with a poem. We think this E.E. Cummings  poem, “in Just-” celebrates spring, children, and music in a refreshingly dissonant way. What do you think?

in Just–
E.E. Cummings

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan          whistles

Rhythm is central to this poem. It is typographical – the disjointed spacing, repetition of verses, and vertical arrangement makes movement tangible: moving children, wind, and the whistle thread the poem together in evolving combinations. It is also lyrical – the refrain, the balloonMan’s whistle “far and wee,” is contrasted with the huffing breaths of young children running, slurring names “eddieandbill” and “bettyandisabel” together. The whistle has the effect of an ice cream truck’s song, calling children to chase after it. To the adult (the reader?), the whistle is the belittled sound of a, “lame,” “little,” “goat footed” man.  But to the children, the whistle is a mysterious a-harmonic tune. It is a mysterious sound. It implores them to break away from their games and explore an even more magical realm of the imagination.

What does this poem mean to you? Share your thoughts below, or share another poem that reminds you of spring, play, rhythm, or the imagination below!


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