Category Archives: E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings #3

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

— E. E. Cummings

From W {ViVa} (1931).

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E. E. Cummings #2

i like my body when it is with your
body.   It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body.   i like what it does,
i like its hows.   i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss,   i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . .  And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly I like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

— E. E. Cummings

From & (And) (1925).

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E. E. Cummings

Poem 42

n
OthI
n

g can

s
urPas
s

the m

y
SteR
y

of

s
tilLnes
s

— E. E. Cummings

From 73 Poems (1963).

Commentary: “A perfect example of a theme being enhanced typographically…What amounts to a single seven-word sentence, is spread with symmetrical precision across seven ‘stanzas’ and fifteen lines. The three line units begin and end with the same lower case letter, the capital letter of the middle line shifts from the ends to the centre point, back to the ends, and once again to the centre. Each of the first two one line units consists of four lower case letters, consisting firstly of a single letter, space, and three letters; and then reversed, three letters, space, and the first of the next word. The final one line unit, ‘of’ launches the denouement of the phrase, revealing exactly what it is that nothing can surpass the mystery of. What is revealed to be a simple aphorism is presented in a complex and precise manner, a skillful act of balancing, using each letter to work for the poem’s effect. However, before we notice the symmetry, we are forced to reconstitute the words of the phrase, piece by piece over the hurdles that Cummings has laid down for us. The resulting effect is to reduce the speed at which we comprehend its message, echoing the ‘stillness’ of the poem’s conclusion. What is clear when examining the structure of the above piece is that any examination of the positions of letters or the shape of the stanza does not reveal anything more than the aphorism itself, but it does amplify its effect, so that we may feel its meaning instead of merely acknowledging it. The effect of the piece is holistic, its meaning comes in a rush, hopefully providing the reader with a greater sense of his intention.” -Alan Tranter

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