Time in Thomas’ Fern Hill and Cummings’ anyone lived in a pretty how town

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"Historically speaking,…time is lost; poetically speaking,…time is regained in the act of visionary creation" (Crewe 400). Poetry allows for the capture of a moment in time otherwise lost in the blink of an eye. British poet Dylan Thomas and American poet E.E. Cummings have both been noted for the recurring themes of passage of time in their poetry. In Thomas’ "Fern Hill" and Cummings’ "anyone lived in a pretty how town," both modern poets utilize a juxtaposition of paradoxes to express the irrevocable passage of time and the loss of innocence attributed to it. While Thomas projects his mature feelings into a nostalgic site of his childhood, Cummings takes a more detached approach by telling a seemingly trivial, paradoxical story of …show more content…
As individuals the lovers are ignored by "mostpeople" whose routine lives reflect the passage of time. The only to notice the lovers and stray their attention from life’s normal routine are the children, who maintain their innocence, but who soon grow up and forget. Cummings has been noted for this regular indulgence in the themes of "love, birth, growth, dying, and their antithesis," (Wegner 48) as found not only in this specific poem playing the parts of the cycle of time but also in many other of his works.

The poem is expressing the concrete and paradoxically its opposite through a play on pronouns. "Anyone lives in a pretty how town" is "the story of mostpeople and individuals, simultaneously a joyous and sorrowful song" (Turco 93). The title’s ambiguity plays on the use of a "hypallage: rearrangement of syntax - word order - in a sentence"(Turco 92). The title could be interpreted as either "anyone lived in a pretty how town" or "anyone lived in how pretty a town" or "how anyone lived in a pretty town." The "anyone" could be nobody in particular or that particular person capable of love. As Robert Wegner writes, "[a]s and adjective modifying town, [how] is a superbly descriptive word suggesting in one touch the typical town where all values must conform to accepted regular decorum and procedure, a town whose people operate on rigid and mechanical formalities: a ‘how town’…With these two highly abstract words Cummings
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