“let us suspect, cherie, this not very big ” by e.e.cummins

let us suspect, cherie, this not very big
box completely mysterious, on whose shut
lid in large letters but neatly is
inscribed”Immortality”. And not
go too near it,however people brag
of the wonderful things inside
which are altogether too good to miss –
but we’ll go by, together, giving it a wide
berth. Silently. Making our feet
think. holding our breath-
if we look at it we will want to touch it.
And we mustn’t because(something tells me)
ever so carefully if we
begin to handle it

out jumps Jack Death

A very direct poem, so typical of Cummins.The metaphors of the immortality-box and the jumping Jack of death are matter-of-fact, shorn of rhetoric; at the same time the irony comes through very effectively.

“Making our feet think”,while “holding our breath” is very evocative.

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