Monday, April 29, 2013

National Poetry Month—e. e. cummings "somewhere i have never traveled"

We have reached the penultimate entry into this year’s National Poetry Month series and I am somewhat flummoxed to discover that not one entry concerned romantic love.  I am not entirely sure what that says about me and my taste.
There is some evidence that the general popular opinion about poetry is that it is only useful or interesting insofar as it can get you laid.  Or to wallow in self-pity after being dumped.  Yet I don’t think I have ever written a poem to my beloved, although I did commit a couple in the self-pity mode when I was drinking heavily and haunting the most miserable dives in Chicago.
But if I am going to fairly represent the broad range of poetic expression, I can’t very well ignore it.  So I went looking.  And found some wonderful, familiar verses by Will Shakespeare, Bobby Burns, both of the Brownings, Poe, and many others.
But I settled on a less well known work by one of my personal favorites—the quirky e. e. cummings.  Something in me quickens by his way of looking at love kind of sideways.
somewhere i have never traveled
somewhere i have never traveled, 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 skillfully, 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

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