...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

October 18, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: e. e. cummings

The first poem I really liked was by e.e.cummings. In my senior year of high school, many, many, years ago, the best teacher I ever had used it when he taught us poetry. I bet if the county had approved that poem, more of us would enjoy poetry to this day.

(The teacher, Mr. S, wasn't afraid to bend the rules. One day I'll tell you what he did to the quarterback of the football team.)

Sadly, I can't find that poem. I would have sworn it was called "Thanksgiving" and that the first line was "by virtue of by virtue i" but my gf's copy of e.e.cummings: Complete Poems (1904-1962) doesn't list that line in the index of first lines.

Too bad I can't find it. You'll just have to wait.

Anyway. My gf suggested the following poem, and I agree it should be featured. It's a simple, fun little poem, that looks a lot more complex than it is. In fact, she saw me looking at it, face twisted in thought, and she asked me what I thought.

"It's a fun read," I answered, "but I can't quite figure out what it means."

She may have sighed. "Just read the last line. That's what it's about!" she answered. I think she's right.

I'm very fond of
black bean
soup(O i'm
fond of black
bean soup
Yes i'm very fond
of black bean soup)But
i don't disdain
a beef-

Gimme gin&bitters to
open my
eyes(O gimme
bitters to open
my eyes
Yes gimme gin&bitters
to open my eyes)But
i'll take straight rum as
a night-

Nothing like a blonde for
ruining the
blues(O nothing
like a
blonde for ruining
the blues
Yes nothing like a blonde
for ruining the blues)But
i use redheads for
the tooth

Parson says a sinner will
perish in the
flames(O parson
says a
sinner will perish
in the flames
Yes parson says a sinner
Will perish in the flames)But
i reckon that's better
than freez-

Everybody's dying to be
else(O every
dying to be some
one else
Yes everybody's dying
to be someone else)But
i'll live my life if
it kills

Posted by Victor, Oct. 18, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,
But not much of a poet.

Posted by: Casca on Oct. 18, 2006

I love that poem.

Posted by: red on Oct. 18, 2006

Once you get notoriety you can get away with anything...I'm a redhead with a toothache today :(

Posted by: Scof on Oct. 18, 2006

Does nobody get that cummings was a posing stylist stealing from the substance of others? He stole this from TS Elliot, who stole it from someone else. Fuck it, i should have been a set of ragged claws, scuttling across floors of silent seas.

Posted by: Casca on Oct. 19, 2006

Stealing? what is the problem, that's inherent in the poem. If you're not stealing you ain't gonna be any good.

Posted by: Scof on Oct. 19, 2006

I don't agree with you, Scof. If you don't steal you risk being original, and only original people can make a difference through their work.

Posted by: San Francisco on Oct. 19, 2006

Where the fuck is Annika?

Posted by: Tuning Spork on Oct. 19, 2006

Thanks for the cummings. He sings in the most distinctive voice, alive and in the present without the sentimentality of a capital letter. love the way the poem looks on the page. The Pope should start a ceremony like Ash Wednesday but where the blessing is 'the only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.'

Posted by: michael on Oct. 20, 2006