Joined: Jan 2009 Posts: 324 Location: Vancouver, BC
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So chapter 2 is called "En Route." It follows the lines "A hideous crash nipped the last word. I had supposed the whole prison to have been utterly destroyed by earthquake, but it was only my door closing..."
ooooooooooooooh - reminds me of a gothic romance.
Right after that he says "I put the bed-roll down. I stood up. I was myself." So it is an exploration of what it means to say "I am...".
He is so happy at first to be alone. I totally empathize with that. The first half of the chapter is pretty much consumed with the interior of the cell. The dimensions, the symbols on the wall left by the previous inmates - and he leaves his own mark. There is the stink of the crap-bucket, the broken, futile relationship of the other prisoner and the guards. There is the extremely modest nourishment in such a situation. I feel like I am being taken on a exploration of Cummings mind as he first experiences an isolation tank.
The second half of the chapter is about moving from this ultimately peaceful (if smelly) world and then there is the angel and his harp. The boy to whom he gives the cigarettes is an angel if we go back to my suggested parallel with the Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan. Here is seeing his future like Christian sees the distant light of the Celestial City. This image of the character Cummings' future is made clear right at the end of the chapter when he lifted his "eyes, and saw (his) own harp" - the bars on his window.
Each chapter is a prose poem. It is really interesting to watch a poet write prose.
And what is this thing Cummings has about doors? This is turning out to be a really important symbol in his newly charged lexicon.
_________________ I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.
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