Monday, September 24, 2012


On Saturday morning Becky found my used copy of The Collected Poems of e.e. cummings.  After reading a few poems from this massive book, Becky asked, "What do you make of his work?"

Here I was grateful for the opportunity to enter into English major mode and point out that e.e.'s favorite subject matter was love and that, despite the cursory glance that most people give to cummings's poems and arriving at the conclusion that he wrote in odd forms or nonsensical language, cummings was, in actuality, a very formal and accessible poet--both in style and structure.  A great many of his poems are sonnets.

"Refresh my memory . . . what's a sonnet?"

"Fourteen lines, usually iambic pentameter," I say.  "Cummings wrote in varied schemes, however."  I read some of his sonnets aloud.  His love sonnets.  My wife nods.  And then I waltz into my office and grab the first love poem my fingers touch, the one atop the large stack I have written and I keep on the windowsill . . . for romantic emergencies.  I read my love poem, too. Becky likes what I have written. But then, these are her poems.  The ones she never reads.

I like cummings.  e.e.  I like his little initials.  His originality of language and presentation.  A love poet who wrote sonnets of great warmth and who was able to capture moments of grace and mystery in a sparse net of words.  A guy who was not averse to mixing nouns and verbs.  A poet who makes a person consider the enormity of the gift of love.

I go back to my poetic journal and skim this one off the top, too.  I see that I wrote in on February 6, 2012.  I like it.  And I've certainly written worse.

Inside This Day

Inside this day
There is another day
That you will remember
For what did not occur
Within the boredom
Of routines or the exacting
Rituals of our rehearsed.
But you will be blessed
To recall in gratitude
Some small act
Of kindness
That was not there at first.

And in remembering
This day versed
In memory of what
It could have been
But was not,
You would have
Lived it well
And loved before
You had not
Lived it
Or forgot.  

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