Sunday, April 20th, 2014
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1944 / New York City

E. E. Cummings Told Him

Tags:
,
,
,

plato told

him:he couldn’t
believe it(jesus

told him;he
wouldn’t believe
it)lao

tsze
certainly told
him,and general
(yes

mam)
sherman;
and even
(believe it
or

not)you
told him:i told
him;we told him
(he didn’t believe it,no

sir)it took
a nipponized bit of
the old sixth

avenue
el;in the top of his head:to tell

him

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States of War
About the Text

The final lines of e. e. cummings' poem refer to Manhattan's dismantled Sixth Avenue elevated tracks, which were bought as scrap metal by Imperial Japan three years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.
Thucydides, 5th century BC
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Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham's Quarterly. He also serves as editor emeritus and national correspondent for Harper's magazine.
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