I liked sharing my favorite poems during National Poetry Month this past April, so I thought I’d keep going until the stats start dropping to zero around here on Wednesdays.
I love e.e. cummings. He plays on the page with pain and joy and sex and sarcasm and love so deeply set its expression brings tears. The placement of each word is so important, the spaces, or lack, expressing just as much—or as little—as the words themselves.*
Everyone knows “i carry your heart,” and despite its recent Hollywood-inspired use in every wedding, graduation, bat mitzvah, and retirement party I’ve attended in the past couple years, I’ll freely admit that I get a lump in my throat every single time I read it, which is why I rarely try to read it out loud. I don’t think it should be read out loud—not just because of the phrases-within-phrases that English speech can’t adequately parse, but because this kind of music wasn’t meant to be understood by external ears.
But, having said all that, my first encounter with mr. cummings was his poem, “If.” This was the poem that made me search for more of his work, because I suspected (hoped, knew) they’d speak to me, too.
My daughter of the lovely freckles hadn’t been born yet, but the rest still holds true:
I still cling to this on certain days, when fairness seems like the curse of hope. It reminds me, gently, that life isn’t perfect for a perfectly good reason.
And because I simply can’t resist:
And there I go. Would you please excuse me for a minute? I need a tissue . . .
*Placements and spaces that WordPress chooses to ignore. Since my archaic html skillz aren’t up to fixing this in the time and patience I have, I chose to bypass the headache with images. It’s not a graceful solution, perhaps, but it works.