August 24, 2006

Poetry Thursday - ee cummings

the moon looked into my window
it touched me with its small hands
and with curling infantile
fingers it understood my eyes cheeks mouth
its hands(slipping)felt of my necktie wandered
against my shirt and into my body
the sharp things fingered tinily my heart life

the little hands withdrew, jerkily, themselves

quietly they began playing with a button
the moon smiled she
let go my vest and crept
throught the window
she did not fall
she went creeping along the air

over houses

And out of the east toward
her a fragile light bent gatheringly

ee cummings

Cummings was the first poet whose work I remember following. And I mean that more literally than figuratively. We read some of his poems in an anthology (in high school, this was), and for the first time I went to the library in search of more. I remember being shocked at how thick the collected works were. And then equally shocked to realize that cummings had almost lived until I was born. I had missed him, but only just. Poets could be alive. This changed everything.

Twenty some-odd years later, I stood stock-still on Commercial Street in Provincetown, suddenly remembering that there was a cummings poem that started with one of the names on our list of "possibles" for the baby who would be joining our family soon.

I'm looking forward to someday telling our son all the reasons his name is his. Poetry can be alive. And can change everything.

(More musings on time and poetry are here.)
And tips o' the hat to Auntie Nish and SarahJ for setting me to thinking of cummings again.


twitches said...

cummings is terrific - and I love your anecdote about the baby's name.

Bug said...

I love the imagery in this! Particularly the part about the curling fingers.

BTW, I love your idea of life stories. I think I'll post about that soon. Is there a particular post where you describe the idea that I can link to?

kerrdelune said...

(Sigh) cummings is one of my favourites ever, especially his moons and his mud luscious puddle wonderful springtime

Shelley said...

Hi Twitches, thanks for visiting and keep writing! [waves]

Bug, as per your request, the explanation of the My Life in Stories project (as well as my story list) are now available up in my profile box. Thanks for your interest and encouragement.

And kerrdelune, you know I love to get you sighing. ;-)

Pearl said...

Thanks for sharing this poem along. I've never read it. I remember having a paf, that poet's dead too impatience in reading, sure I was born the wrong century and missed everything.

SarahJane said...

love that poem
cummings was also my teenage favorite, my first favorite poet as that was one of the few poetry books we had in the house. you and i must have been born around the same time because I remember thinking the same thing about cummings, how he died shortly before i was born... how maybe i could be him rein-goddamned-carnated!

thanks for posting that poem, and your thoughts. most enjoyable.