Saturday, December 6, 2008

thanks e.e. for making me richer and alive

i should pull him from the shelves more often!
by Charlie Leck
(all inset quotations are from e.e. cummings)

we love each other very dearly,
than raindrops need sunbeams or snowflakes make
possible mayflowers
Something made me pull e.e. cummings from the bookshelves this week. Can’t remember the reason, but there it was this morning, upon my desk, ready for the tasting. And so I did and it was sweet and fresh as if just picked ripe.

After years and years, I still cherish the flavors and find the poetry utterly immeasurably absurdly delectable.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
This blog template wants me to follow typographic rules regarding case and punctuation and spacing and line breaks. Old e.e. created his own rules and typography was part of the beauty of his poetry.

when god decided to invent
everything he took one
breath bigger than a circustent
and everything began

when man determined to destroy
himself he picked the was
of shall and finding only why
smashed it into because

Golly! I loved reading e.e. as a young and middle-aged man. He inspired me to write poems and I went through my e.e. period producing many dozens of them. All are lost. Gone somewhere. Left behind in some trunk, cardboard box or ash can.

Now I rediscover some of his poems that speak of this moment – this world situation – and I will not even quote them because they would frighten you and you would begin to think that e.e. was a pessimist rather than a realist.

No, I’ll quote others instead. What delightful rediscovery. I’m ill this morning, fighting a terrible case of bronchitis and I was in need of a lift. e.e. has done it for me again.

The following is rather riz-kay, you know, and those under 42 years of age should approach it with a bit of caution because it could cause a certain grinding of your internal gears (those of you up here around my age needn’t worry):

she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff I was
careful of her and (having
thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure of her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it
flooded the carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute I was back in neutral tried and

again so slo-wly,bare,ly nudg. Ing(my

lever Right
-oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low
through second-in-to-high like
just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good

was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how
nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public

Gardens i slammed on
brakes Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
to a:dead

I could go on and on. Yet, I mustn’t. Copyright restrictions are still in effect. Shouldn’t be! It’s unfair not to be able to share such wonderful sunlight.

If you’ve never read about e.e. cumming’s Uncle Sol, you must – “nobody loses all the time!”

The sonnets of e.e. are particularly wonderful and always surprising and never by the rules.

It may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another’s face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as I know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be --
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

Oh, my!

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
Yes! Let the stars dance!

love is the every only god

Yes, for years I’ve been saying it!

dying is fine)but Death

wouldn’t like
Death if Death

The above is a poem I love to quote aloud, at surprising times, but it is only half the poem; however, I’ll say in my best Jack Nicholson imitation, I doubt you can handle the other half, which includes the line: “we thank thee god almighty for dying.”

What a wonderful start to a day that now peeks beckoningly at me through the eastward windows, brightening the sky and telling me the dog needs to be fed. I forgot for this hour that I was ill and out of sorts.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant stuff. Have you seen Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (arguably his most enduring film)? It features Michael Caine reading the wonderful poem with the unforgettable line: "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands".