Radnitzer
English

Spring is like a perhaps hand Explication

The poem spring is like a perhaps hand is by the well known poet Edward Estlin Cummings; know more commonly as e.e. cummings. The poem stresses characteristics about the season of that are not what people first think of when they think of spring, such as it's power. The poem also addresses how people are so unobservant and busy in their lives, that they hardly stop and notice spring in all its beauty.

In the poem spring is like a perhaps hand, Cummings foremost addresses the gentleness of spring. It is not harsh nor the effects on our world devastating, and yet it is able radically modify the world around us. The change itself is just as stressed as the way in which spring changes everything. The subtleness of spring is shown in the line “arranging a window into which people look (while people stare)”, and how it offers the idea that spring offers window into a different part of our world, and yet we see this change constantly during the season, but we don’t actually see spring in all its beauty, until the change is complete.

Cummings also relates the change of spring to the way in which it only slightly changes our world and over a period of time. The subtleness of spring is shown from the excerpts “there a strange thing and a known thing here"/ "moving old and new things"/"moving a perhaps fraction of a flower here, placing an inch of air there”; showing how remains of winter are still present through the transformations, and only little signs of change are shown. These signs unnoticeable for the most part, due to the fact that the change isn’t radical or sudden, but is balanced by signs of old things (winter) and new things (spring), so we don’t immediately notice it.

Cummings also effectively uses poetic devices to reinforce what he says about spring. Repetition especially is widely used throughout the poem. Repetitions of certain words are used to emphasize certain characteristics of spring. Repetition of “carefully” and “changing” are used repeatedly to emphasize how spring gently alters the world around us, as opposed to with the force of a tornado. Recurrence of the word “perhaps” is used to stress spring’s unpredictability the fact that spring cannot be controlled. The stanza’s themselves also are repetitious in how they both state the exact same things about spring, but just in a different way. For example, in the first stanza:

"arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)"

compared to a quotation from the second stanza:

"moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully"

Both sections are from different stanzas, and yet are both stating how spring carefully and subtlely changes the world by keeping things that are familiar, as well as adding in new things. This repition of the stanzas reflects how spring comes back every year and basically serves the same purpose of reviving the world after winter, but it is a different spring than the previous year.

The uses of a simile as well as symbolism are other poetic devices that are present in spring is like a perhaps hand, and are in fact present right in the title. Cummings compares spring to a “perhaps hand”, seemingly a rather strange and obscure comparison. The “perhaps hand” alludes to many aspects of the season of spring. It both represents the unpredictability or possibility, as the direct definition of perhaps, of spring’s arrival. The image of the hand shows the power spring has, like a fist, in how it can completely change our world; but also the beauty of the hand as an lively art form, like how brings life a beauty back into the world after the colorless winter. Also similarly, the hand is used to greet people, and spring greets the beginning of the year.

The poetic structure for spring is like a perhaps hand is unrhymed, with no specific meter or number of sllables per line, besides having a stanza and then a solo line. This absence of a strict pattern relates to the freeness of spring unconfined, as well as the individuality of each year’s spring. Cummings chose to not put any punctuation into the poem, which further helps to characterize spring, in how it mirrors the simplicity and beauty of spring by just letting the poem flow rather than being broken up by a lot of punctuation.

E.E. Cumming’s spring is like a perhaps hand in nearly every aspect of its writing beautifully works to tie in the points that Cummings is making about spring. From the poetic structure, to the poetic devices that the Cummings uses, it all works to support his idea of spring being something of great power and beauty, and something that cannot be controlled or predicted.