Wednesday, November 03, 2004

e.e.cummings' to town

Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink. (from 'Humanity i love you', 1925)

Very interested in 'birth', Cummings used the Latin word nascitur in at least two of his works.

While my Mother favors Robert Frost more - she, the faithful disciple of Romanticism, I have always found e.e. cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings) more to my liking. Known for his eccentric punctuations, he often dealt with the antagonism between an individual and masses, but his style brought into his poems lightness and satirical tones.

Cummings believed that modern mass society was a threat to individuals. "Progress is a comfortable disease," Cummings once wrote. He was interersted in cubism, and jazz, which had not became mass entertainment, and contemporary slang, an unorthodox form of language - a true revolutionary who, funny enough, painted for Vanity Fair magazine.

Allow me, dearest friends,to introduce you to samples of his work.

[i thank You God for most this amazing]

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

By e. e. cummings

The next work, of course, is something most Filipinos actually know by heart courtesy of Beauty and the Beast.

[somewhere i have never travelled]

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

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