'yes is a pleasant country... (XXXVIII)' by e.e. cummings

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yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the yearboth is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appearlove is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're)

Editor 1 Interpretation

"yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) - An Analysis

Wow, where do I even begin with this poem? "yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) by e.e. cummings is a masterpiece of modernist poetry that packs a punch in just a few short lines. Let's dive in and see what we can uncover.

Form and Structure

First off, let's talk about the form and structure of this poem. It's a short one, with just six lines, but cummings packs a lot of meaning into those few words. The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. Instead, cummings plays with the arrangement of words on the page to create a visual representation of the poem's meaning.

The first two lines are separated from the remaining four lines by a large gap, emphasizing their importance. The second line is indented, creating a sense of continuation from the first line. The remaining lines are arranged in a block, with each line starting flush with the left margin.

The lack of punctuation throughout the poem creates a sense of flow and continuity, as if the words are tumbling out in a stream of consciousness. This reflects the poem's theme of spontaneity and the joy of living in the moment.


So, what is this poem really about? On the surface, it seems to be a simple declaration that "yes is a pleasant country." But as with most of cummings' work, there are layers of meaning to be uncovered.

The first two lines, "yes is a pleasant country / if's wintry" suggest that saying "yes" is a pleasant response, but only when things are difficult or challenging. The use of the word "if" suggests that there are conditions to be met before one can truly appreciate the joy of saying "yes."

The next four lines, "you can go / where you please / and do / what you think" celebrate the freedom that comes with embracing the present moment and saying "yes." The lack of punctuation in these lines creates a sense of boundlessness, as if the speaker is urging us to explore the limitless possibilities that come with saying "yes."

The final line, "yes is a pleasant country to visit / but i wouldn't want to live there" acknowledges that while saying "yes" can be liberating and joyful, it's not always practical or sustainable to live in a constant state of spontaneity. The speaker recognizes the need for balance and stability in life.

Overall, this poem can be interpreted as a celebration of the joy of living in the moment and saying "yes" to life's challenges and opportunities. But it also recognizes the importance of balance and practicality in creating a fulfilling life.

Literary Techniques

Of course, cummings' poetry is known for its use of literary techniques, and "yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) is no exception. Here are a few of the techniques he employs in this poem:


As mentioned earlier, cummings uses enjambment throughout the poem to create a sense of flow and continuity. Each line spills into the next, creating a sense of momentum and energy.


The title of the poem, "yes is a pleasant country," is a metaphor for the joy and liberation that comes with saying "yes" to life. This metaphor is extended throughout the poem, with the actions of going and doing representing the freedom that comes with embracing the present moment.


The repetition of the word "yes" throughout the poem reinforces its central theme. Each "yes" is a declaration of the joy of living in the moment and embracing life's opportunities.


Cummings' unique syntax, with its lack of punctuation and unconventional word order, creates a sense of spontaneity and freedom that mirrors the poem's theme. It also forces the reader to slow down and pay attention to the words on the page, encouraging a deeper engagement with the poem.


In conclusion, "yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) is a powerful and evocative poem that celebrates the joy of living in the moment and saying "yes" to life's challenges and opportunities. Its use of metaphor, repetition, enjambment, and syntax create a sense of energy and spontaneity that draws the reader in and encourages a deeper engagement with the poem's themes.

While cummings acknowledges the importance of balance and practicality in life, he ultimately urges us to embrace the present moment and all its possibilities. "Yes is a pleasant country" may not be a place we can live in permanently, but it's certainly a place worth visiting as often as possible.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions, to transport us to different worlds, and to make us see things in a new light. One of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, e.e. cummings, was a master of this art form. His poem "yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) is a prime example of his unique style and his ability to convey complex ideas in a simple yet profound way.

The poem begins with the line "yes is a pleasant country." This seemingly simple statement is actually quite profound. The word "yes" is a positive affirmation, a word that conveys agreement, acceptance, and approval. By describing it as a "pleasant country," cummings is suggesting that this state of mind is a desirable place to be. It is a place of happiness, contentment, and peace.

The next line of the poem reads, "if's wintry." Here, cummings introduces a contrast to the previous line. The word "if" is a conditional word, suggesting doubt, uncertainty, and hesitation. By describing it as "wintry," cummings is suggesting that this state of mind is cold, bleak, and inhospitable. It is a place of doubt, fear, and anxiety.

The third line of the poem reads, "Tell yourself." Here, cummings is suggesting that we have the power to choose which state of mind we inhabit. We can choose to dwell in the pleasant country of "yes," or we can choose to succumb to the wintry landscape of "if." The choice is ours.

The fourth line of the poem reads, "Of course it's hard to get there." Here, cummings acknowledges that the journey to the pleasant country of "yes" is not an easy one. It requires effort, determination, and a willingness to overcome the obstacles that stand in our way. But cummings is also suggesting that the rewards of reaching this destination are worth the effort.

The fifth line of the poem reads, "But once you're there." Here, cummings suggests that once we have made the journey to the pleasant country of "yes," we will find ourselves in a place of peace, contentment, and happiness. It is a place where we can let go of our doubts and fears and embrace the positive affirmations of "yes."

The final line of the poem reads, "You'll find it's easier to stay." Here, cummings is suggesting that once we have reached the pleasant country of "yes," it becomes easier to stay there. We have developed the habits and mindset necessary to maintain this state of mind, and we are less likely to be swayed by the wintry landscape of "if."

Overall, "yes is a pleasant country..." (XXXVIII) is a poem that encourages us to embrace positivity and to reject negativity. It reminds us that we have the power to choose which state of mind we inhabit and that the journey to the pleasant country of "yes" is worth the effort. Cummings' unique style and use of language make this poem a joy to read and a powerful reminder of the importance of positivity in our lives.

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