All Ignorance Toboggans into Know by ee cummings

This poem may be my favourite of all the poems I love and re-read and it’s because I can’t quite figure it out. After all, this is what I feel the poem is ultimately about: that we will never know all there is to know, and that this is a good thing.

If you have your own interpretation, do share!

all ignorance toboggans into know

all ignorance toboggans into know
and trudges up to ignorance again:
but winter’s not forever,even snow
melts;and if spring should spoil the game,what then?

all history’s a winter sport or three:
but were it five,i’d still insist that all
history is too small for even me;
for me and you,exceedingly too small.

Swoop(shrill collective myth)into thy grave
merely toil the scale to shrillerness
per every madge and mabel dick and dave
-tomorrow is our permanent address

and there they’ll scarcely find us(if they do,
we’ll move away still further:into now

~ ee cummings

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6 thoughts on “All Ignorance Toboggans into Know by ee cummings

    • I love your interpretation!

      That final line has always given me pause. My reading of ‘tomorrow is our permanent address’ is that ‘tomorrow’ is a refuge from the hatred, misconceptions, and the bigoted assumptions that are the result of widespread ignorance. ‘Tomorrow’ in my opinion, signifies change and a hoped-for enlightenment, but I have never been sure how to read ‘now’. Why would ‘now’ be an even safer hiding place? What you say makes sense – if ‘now’ is just ‘being’, then perhaps to ‘move away still further:into now’ means to retreat into what we know, to push back at the ‘myth’ (i.e. the lies and prejudiced attitudes) with clear-eyed, unprejudiced truth.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. We love certainty, do we not? It’s what helps us make some sense of the nonsense that pervades our senses when we see, hear, smell, taste and touch what surrounds us and is within us. A true scientist constructs a paradigm which may well be jettisoned when new evidence denies it; a blind believer or a conspiracy theorist hangs on to their model come hell or high water. A philosopher — that lover of wisdom — may well live in the moment, because they know that all we know is truly just a dream.

    Liked by 1 person

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