Monday, April 12, 2010

when faces called flowers

The glorious spring weather makes me think of this poem by e.e. cummings:

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april(yes,april;my darling)it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we're alive,dear:it's(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

On first reading the poem seems almost treacly sweet, but on subsequent readings there are troubling hints of darkness and derangement. Like... In the third line of every stanza, if "keeping" refers to holding on to a person, then maybe there's some guilt about how his last relationship ended? There's that enigmatic last line of every stanza that's still playful and joyful but also, maybe, a bit troubling - thinking that mountains are dancing seems a bit demented. And the rolling repetitions (yes, yes, yes, now, now, now, all, all, all)... they start out affirming, then frantic, then greedy.

I don't have anything else to say; I think it's a cool poem. It's like a spectacular sunset caused by pollution or a beautiful sheen on the ocean that may be an oil slick or a hilarious friend who's an alcoholic.


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