top of page
  • Dr.Pragya Suman

Poem of the Week

little tree]

E. E. Cummings - 1894-1962

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold.

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”

Editor’s Note/Dr Pragya Suman

This week #poemoftheweek, Arc Magazine is little tree by E. E. Cummings ( 1894–1962). Cummings was a radical experimentalist who twisted and broke the syntax, grammar and structure, all to give a visual effect to intensify the emotional impact of poetry. He used typographical form, spacing, and eschewal of capital letters in the era when the modernist movement was in the primitive phase. His first poetry collection, Tulips & Chimneys, came in 1923, and this poem, little tree, was included in his debut book. little tree is the epitome of simplicity, and language is almost childlike, but that simplicity is not puerile. In the deep core, we see William Blake is resounding. Cummings was highly influenced by Blake. Blake talked about coming and going, oppression and repression. In his era, he was considered an extreme radical.

Here two spaces are used, preceding see and look.

who found you in the green forest

and were you sorry to come away?

Blake’s mysterious effects are highlighting little tree. Spacing after see gives the consoling effect to a inanimate object, words are from an innocent child who want to dance with little sister, and sing “Noel Noel”

Cummings’s past childhood is singing in the background, coagulating the Blakes’s effect, in an hybrid hierarchy.

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

The initial four lines are twee-like, it seems they would stumble soon, but it doesn’t happen; they look like William Blake's famous poem tiger tiger burning bright. The difference is that the fiery images of tiger tiger are replaced with soft spangles and flowers.

A great poem usually has three ingredients: psychic energy, along with the voice of a child, fused with a certain amount of adult grief or philosophy. We see all three tones are alive here. I read so many Christmas poems, among them Cumming’s carol is majestic and innocent, and chose it as poem of the week. There could be varied opinions on a subjective basis, as our taste buds are diverse.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page