Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Poem That Shatters

e.e. cummings (photo credit)
As an English teacher, I used to find it rather off-putting when other teachers or professors would try to tell me what various literature meant. You've got to be kidding. To me, the true meaning of any art is variable and formed by each person experiencing it.

Knowing that Walt Whitman's poem, "O Captian! My Captian!" was inspired by the death of Abraham Lincoln distinctly changes its meaning for me.  To be honest, I often prefer to remain oblivious to what inspired art so that I am free to form my own interpretation.

One of my all-time favorite poets, e.e. cummings, broke the rules of grammar and punctuation and became a magician with words. One could spend a lifetime discussing his work.

I wanted to share one of his poems that has changed my life.

Because I hope that you will find your own meaning in this composition, I'll preface this only by saying that my husband and I used the first 5 words in our wedding vows.

Oh, it speaks to us.
What does it say to you?

here's to opening and upward,to leaf and to sap
and to your (in my arms, flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

and here's to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning's beautiful friend
twilight (and a first dream called ocean) and

let must or if be damned with whomever's afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks, nor dares to feel (but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)

here's to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon

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