Wednesday, October 25, 2006

since feeling is first by E.E. Cummings

As promised, here's a happier poem, inspired by the terrific Cummings poem "i carry your heart with me" read last Friday at Sean and Ranah's wedding. Cummings is always playful with language and, though he doesn't do it here, was known for freeing his text from the left margin. You might notice how he uses line breaks to pace the poem.



since feeling is first
By E.E. Cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis


Cummings (1894-1962) discovered an original way of describing the chaotic immediacy of sensuous experience. He played games with language and form and put forth a deliberately simplistic view of the world, giving his poems have a gleeful and precocious tone. He was born in Cambridge, Mass., attended Harvard and studied Art in Paris.

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