In Just E.E. Cummings
American poet E.E Cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings, 1894-1962) is one of the leading voices of American literature in the 20th century. Cummings' disregard for many forms of language, including capitalization, was revolutionary. Of his large body of work, perhaps the most famous is his poem "in Just."
"In Just" is entirely representative of Cummings' free verse style, heavily influenced by such avant-garde movements as Dada and surrealism. In this poem, which is ostensibly about spring. Cummings seemingly invents new words to convey imagery, such as "mud-licious" and "puddle-wonderful."
On the surface, the poem appears to be an innocent description of spring, with children running to meet the balloon man. The poem is presented from the point of view of the children:
By running their names together, Cummings is depicting the ways in which children's friendships seem to be always in motion and inseparable.
Many, however, see deeper meaning, including the description of the balloon man as "goat footed." This immediately calls to mind the image of Pan from Greek mythology, the satyr. Rather than bringing balloons, this man is bringing sexual knowledge to the children, destroying their innocence. However, such interpretations are often controversial. In the end, each reader brings his or her own interpretation to "in Just."