Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday, e.e.cummings!!


Poetry Friday is hosted by  Laura Purdie Salas

Self-portrait with sketchpad, 1939, oil on canvas, 43 X 31 1/2 in.
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Art Collection,
The University of Texas at Austin.

It’s e.e. cummings’ birthday on October 14th.   My paperback copy of his poems is well-read, much dog-eared, and loved.  His quirky punctuation and whimsical wordplay make cummings’ poems so much fun to read, especially to read out loud; but his poems about love are my favorites.  Years ago, when my now-husband was at law school in one city, and I was working far away in another, we’d trade lines from e.e. cummings’ poems in the letters we wrote.  Here are two from that collection:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
(you can read he rest of he poem here.)
“i carry your heart” has been set to music, which makes it all the lovelier to hear:

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And here is a movie star treatment to a few of those lines:
And here is another, with a first verse that I an read and read 

[love is more thicker than forget]

 
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
(you can read the rest of the poem here.)
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10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday, e.e.cummings!!

  1. In February I always shared loads of love poems and students wrote their own. This line, "love is more thicker than forget" always got to them more than others, and the poem holds a special place for me. I love your story about your early courtship, Tara, so romantic and wonderful. Thanks for the sweet words!

  2. Oh, Tara, I love thinking of you and your now-husband trading lines of poetry, especially the lines from "i carry your heart." My favorite lines are the ones in the video clip: >>(here is the root of the root and the bud of the budand the sky of the sky of a tree called life;<<Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I remember "discovering" e.e.cummings in high school English. Wow…liberating! I was always a "color inside the lines" person, and here was someone who didn't seem to know there were lines! I later wrote something for a "color inside the lines" English teacher, who made me aware that there were still lines….back to inside the lines for that year!

  4. I fluctuate between loving cummings and being annoyed by him. But…today I am loving him. I love the "love is less always than to win" stanza most of all. I always feel a bit disoriented reading his work!

  5. How wonderful to have caught up with your post on Cummings' actual birthday! (Now there's still time to share that juicy tidbit with everyone I know.) Thank you for sharing these poems, the musical rendition, and your own love story, which is beautiful to imagine as well.

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