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in Just- spring by ee cummings

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

whistles       far       and wee

and eddyandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it's 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 

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

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


baloonMan       whistles 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn March 19, 2018, 10:54 PM

    I told you you were a Modernist!

    Still waiting for Spring here, but happy for those who are getting it.

  • bob sykes March 20, 2018, 4:49 AM

    Our common tastes in poetry always surprise me. cummings is one of my favorites. Many years ago I found several books that were photocopies of his original typescripts. And no, you can’t have them. It’s morning here in North Central Ohio, and cold and overcast. After lunch, I’ll get out my cummings’ typescripts and read him.

    PS. When we were younger, the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest baseball franchise, had the privilege of playing the first game of each new season. Somewhere along the line, that tradition got trashed. Even though I am a Red Sox fan (for life), I should like to see that tradition restored.

  • Dan Patterson March 20, 2018, 5:55 AM

    Love ee cummings as well. I know little of his inspirations and being of a simple mind I do not understand the “goat-footed baloonMan whistles” line. There is menace there, both in imagery and meter. Cloven hoof? Or is it literal: “lame baloonman “? The long time between baloonMan and whistles portends horror. Or is it just me?

    And to bob sykes (lower case as a respectful nod to cummings?) and the Cincinnati Reds: Strongly agree to have the Reds play the first game! Red Stockings were worn by Fed Artillerymen in the 1861 war of northern invasion. Likely connection, but I cannot quickly locate a reference.

    Apologies for the multiple question marks. Cheers y’all.

  • Snakepit Kansas March 20, 2018, 5:55 AM

    Where is the Cincinnati Reds diamond? The photo looks far too new for Crosley Field and certainly not the old Riverfront, or whatever the new stadium is called today. My first decade was near Dayton and my Dad would take me to Reds’ games at Riverfront. Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster…with play-by-play radio personalities Al Michaels (before he hit the big time) and former Reds pitcher, Joe Nuxhall.

  • pbird March 20, 2018, 8:25 AM

    Dan, i always thought the goat footed balloon man was a reference to tragedy coming and growing up and mutability. Spring does not last.

  • Vanderleun March 20, 2018, 9:27 AM

    I would think, and others agree, that the “goat-footed balloon man” refers to the god Pan, in a strange contemporary guise perhaps, who plays his Pan pipes to signal the sexuality and vitality of Spring. To wit:
    Pan (god) – Wikipedia

    In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pan (/pæn/;[1] Ancient Greek: Πάν, Pan) is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs.[2] He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is also recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring

  • Dan Patterson March 20, 2018, 10:23 AM

    Not to beat this apart, but I see the Pan connection albeit thinly. I don’t get vitality, but ominous gloom. What does the “lame” statement in the first stanza, and the temptation of a “baloon” toy from a disfigured man and the associated wariness do for you? “Far and wee”? And why the spelling? This discussion belongs in a classroom and I appreciate the diversion.

    Snakepit’s question about the ball field: Looks like spring training in Arizona.

  • Gordon March 20, 2018, 10:30 AM

    The first sign of spring in Minneapolis is the rapid melting of the snow piles alongside roads and in the corners of parking lots. Some of them, more tenacious than others, can hang on into May. The piles are full of dirt, petroleum residue, sand and trash. All the trash that fell for months, and was buried within the piles by the plows.

    It’s ugly. The trees and bushes are still barren, although one can see whisps of green in the grass in places. It can still snow, a lot, for another three or four weeks. But about mid-April, one can notice a haze of green in the trees. Then, a week later, they explode with growth.

    It still startles me every year, and I’ve lived here for over 30 years. April 1, gray, brown, black, dead. April 30, the lushness is stunning. The mason bees are working the early blooming bushes (you can tell they’re mason bees by the little white aprons and little red hats). The dairy cows are still kind of happy/feisty back in the fields after being indoors for four months. The roads outstate are full of tractors and implements. And 100 miles north, in the woods, winter is still hanging on, but slowly losing the grip.

  • Vanderleun March 20, 2018, 5:35 PM

    The introduction of Pan or the goatfooted one is the elements or emblems or images that keeps this poem from being just a Hallmark Card.

    Note his changes from the beginning from “little old” to “queer” to “goat-footed.”

    After all, Spring means the return of fructification, of sexuality, of randy romps and dangerous liasons. It’s not all angels wings and babies’ bottoms. Some of this Spring stuff is hot times in the old corn field tonight having sex to symbolically fertilize the crops. Pagan gods blowing pan pipes for children to follow into the fields….

  • Snakepit Kansas March 20, 2018, 6:47 PM

    Mr. Patterson,
    Reds spring training in Arizona makes sense. Thank you, sir!

  • ghostsniper March 20, 2018, 7:29 PM

    Speaking of spring….we got 6″ of snow today and still, all night long I suppose….so we’ll have to wait a little longer. sigh

    And yet I had the gall to fire up the grill 3 suppers in a row since Sat in high 50’s temps.

  • Howard Nelson March 20, 2018, 9:11 PM

    Gold-tressed child in coat of blue
    There’s more truth bubbling in you
    Then we’ll ever know
    Or ever once knew.

    Play, play, the sun will wait
    Holding back Night in its flight
    Holding open Heaven’s gate.