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"anyone lived in a pretty how town" by E E Cummings (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

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Published on Jun 20, 2010

A sad, poignant little poem from the master of the perverse. It's not at all easy to read or to understand. It's about a man, "anyone", and a woman, "noone", who loves him. Others are "someones" and "everyones." That's all you need to know, really.

One of Cummings' favourite devices is the "dying fall" - as it was called in Twelfth Night - the rhyme and metre lead you to anticipate something that doesn't happen. Here's a crude example (not Cummings):

When you started
Reading this
You thought it was
Going to be poetry
Didn't you?

or

There was an Old Miller of Dee
Who was stung on the nose by a wasp
When they asked "Does it hurt"
He replied "No it don't
But I'm glad it wasn't a hornet."

There's a good, and more serious, analysis here: http://plagiarist.com/articles/11/

The illustrations are from a handcrafted book about this poem by Charles Ritchie: http://www.charlesritchie.com/journal...

The self-portrait was painted in 1939.

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