e.e. cummings


i'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.
--eec

to be nobody-but-yourself- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, 
to make you everybody else- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, 
and never stop fighting.
--eec

the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
--ee cummings

i don't know what it is about you that opens and closes. only something in me 
understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.
--eec

death(having lost)put on his universe
and yawned:it looks like rain
(they've played for timelessness
with chips of when)
that's yours;i guess
you'll have to loan me pain
to take the hearse,
see you again.

love(having found)wound up such pretty toys
as themselves could not know:
the earth tinily whirls;
while daisies grow
(and boys and girls have whispered thus and so)
and girls with boys
to bed will go
--eec

dying is fine)but death

?o
baby
i

wouldn’t like

death if death
were
good:for

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
‘s miraculous
why?be

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
putting
it mildly lively(but

death

is stricly
scientific
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee
god
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life! the sin of death
--eec

beautiful

is the
unmea
ning
of(sil

ently)fal

ling(e
ver
yw
here)s

now
--eec

i am so glad and very
merely my fourth will cure
the laziest self of weary
the hugest sea of shore

so far your nearness reaches
a lucky fifth of you
turns people into eachs
and cowards into grow

our can'ts were born to happen
our mosts have died in more
our twentieth will open
wide a wide open door

we are so both and oneful
night cannot be so sky
sky cannot be so sunful
i am through you so i
--eec

2 little whos
(he and she)
under are this
wonderful tree

smiling stand
(all realms of where
and when beyond)
now and here

(far from a grown
-up i&you-
ful world of known)
who and who

(2 little ams
and over them this
aflame with dreams
incredible is)
--eec

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)
honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at the wedding)
never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for good likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)
in spite of everything
which breathes and moves, since doom
(with white longest hands
neating each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds
-before leaving my room
i turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.
--eec

be unto love as rain is unto colour;create
me gradually(or as these emerging now
hills invent the air)
       breathe simply my each how
my trembling where my still uninvisible when. wait

if i am not heart,because at least i beat
--always think i am gone like a sun which must go
sometimes,to make an earth gladly seem firm for you:
remember(as those pearls more than surround this throat)

i wear your dearest fears beyond their ceaselessness

(nor has a syllable of the heart's eager dim
enormous language loss or gain from blame or praise)
but many a thought shall die which was not born of dream
while wings welcome the year and trees dance(and i guess

though wish and world go down,one poem yet shall swim)
--eec

come a little further--why be afraid--
here's the earliest star(have you a wish?)
touch me,
before we perish
(believe that not anything which has ever been
invented can spoil this or this instant)
kiss me a little:
the air
darkens and is alive--
o live with me in the fewness of
these colours;
alone who slightly
always are beyond the reach of death

and the english
--eec

hate blows a bubble of despair into
hugeness world system universe and bang
--fear buries a tomorrow under woe
and up comes yesterday most green and young

pleasure and pain are merely surfaces
(one itself showing,itself hiding one)
life's only and true value neither is
love makes the little thickness of the coin

comes here a man would have from madame death
neverless now and without winter spring?
she'll spin that spirit her own fingers with
and give him nothing(if he should not sing)

how much more than enough for both of us darling.   and if i sing you are my voice,
--eec

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

for whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
--eec

n
othi
n

g can

s
urpas
s

the m

y
ster
y

of

s
tillnes
s
--eec

o by the by
has anybody seen
little you-i
who stood on a green
hill and threw
his wish at blue

with a swoop and a dart
out flew his wish
(it dived like a fish
but it climbed like a dream)
throbbing like a heart
singing like a flame

blue took it my
far beyond far
and high beyond high
bluer took it your
but bluest took it our
away beyond where

what a wonderful thing
is the end of a string
(murmurs little you-i
as the hill becomes nil)
and will somebody tell
me why people let go
--eec

s(

these out of in
finite no
where,who;arrive s
trollingly

:alight whitely and.

)now
flakes:are;guests,of t
wi
ligh

t
--eec

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

         we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(so,when kiss spring comes
we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don't make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
kiss me)
--eec

what time is it?it is by every star
a different time,and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

--nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never,but forever now
(hosts of eternity;not guests of seem)
believe me, dear,clocks have enough to do
without confusing timelessness and time.

time cannot children,poets,lovers tell--
measure imagine,mystery,a kiss
--not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our)merely to undie
--eec

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)
--eec

yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're)
--eec

you no

tice
nobod
y wants

mess(not to men

tion least)&i
   ob
serve no

body wants most

(not
putting it mildlymuch)

may

be be
cause
ever

ybody

wants more
(&more&
still more)what the

hell are we all morticians?
--eec

tumbling-hair
     picker of buttercups
        violet
dandelions
and the big bullying daisies
        through the field wonderful
with eyes a little sorry
another comes
        also picking flowers
--eec

if you and i awakening

discover that (somehow
in the dark) this world has been
picked,like a piece
of clover,from the green meadow of

time

lessness;quietly turning
toward me the
guessable mirrors which your eyes are

you will communicate a little

more than twice all that
so
gently
while we were asleep while
we were wach other disappeared:but i

slightly

smiling,
gradually shall reenter the

singular kingdom

(sleep)
.while some
thing else
kisses busily
a
memory,which how exquisitely
flutters in

the cornorless tomorrow
--eec

from spiralling ecstatically this

proud nowhere of earth's most prodigious night
blossoms a newborn babe:around him,eyes
-- gifted with every keener appetite
than mere unmiracle can quite appease --
humbly in their imagined bodies kneel
(over time space doom dream while floats the whole

perhapsless mystery of paradise)

mind without soul may blast some universe
to might have been,and stop ten thousand stars
but not one heartbeat of this child;nor shall
even prevail a million questionings
against the silence of his mother's smile

whose only secret all creation sings
--eec

it is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when (being fool to fancy) i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest
-turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.
--eec

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother:
then laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

and death i think is no parenthesis
--eec

along the brittle treacherous bright streets
of memory comes my heart,singing like
an idiot,whispering like drunken man
who(at a certain corner,suddenly)meets
the tall policeman of my mind.
      awake
being not asleep,elsewhere our dreams began
which now are folded:but the year completes
his life as a forgotten prisoner
-"ici?"-"Ah non,mon chéri;il fait trop froid"-
they are gone:along these gardens moves a wind bringing
rain and leaves,filling the air with fear
and sweetness....pauses. (halfwhispering....halfsinging
stirs the always smiling chevaux de bois)
when you were in paris we met here
--eec

as is the sea marvelous
from god's
hands which sent her forth
to sleep upon the world
and the earth withers
the moon crumbles
one by one
stars flutter into dust
but the sea
does not change
and she goes forth out of hands and
she returns into hands
and is with sleep....
love,
    the breaking
of your
    soul
    upon
my lips
--eec

six
are in a room's dark around)
five
(are all dancesing singdance all are
three
with faces made of cloud dancing and
three
singing with voices made of earth and
five
(six are in a room's)
one
is red
and(six are in)
four are
white
(three singdance six dancesing three
all around around all
clouds singing three and
and three dancing earths
three menandwomen three
and all around all and
all around five all
around five around)
five flowers five
(six are in a room's dark)
all five are one
flowers five flowers and all one is fire
--eec

listen
beloved
i dreamed
it appeared that you thought to
escape me and became a great
lily atilt on
insolent
waters but i was aware of
fragrance and i came riding upon
a horse of porphyry into the
waters i rode down the red
horse shrieking from splintering
foam caught you clutched you upon my
mouth
listen
beloved
i dreamed in my dream you had
desire to thwart me and became
a little bird and hid
in a tree of tall marble
from a great way i distinguished
singing and i came
riding upon a scarlet sunset
trampling the night easily
from the shocked impossible
tower i caught
you strained you
broke you upon my blood
listen
beloved i dreamed
i thought you would have deceived
me and became a star in the kingdom
of heaven
through day and space i saw you close
your eyes and i came riding
upon a thousand crimson years arched with agony
i reined them in tottering before
the throne and as
they shied at the automaton moon from
the transplendant hand of sombre god
i picked you
as an apple is picked by the little peasants for their girls
--eec

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
--eec

"o purple finch
please tell me why
this summer world(and you and i
who love so much to live)
must die"

"if i
should tell you anything"
(that eagerly sweet carolling
self answers me)
"i could not sing"
--eec

in just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles       far       and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far      and       wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it's
spring
and
the
boat-footed
balloonman       whistles
far
and
wee
--eec

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my uncle sol could
sing mccann he was a diver on xmas eve like hell itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my uncle

sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly
added

my uncle sol's farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my uncle sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my uncle sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my uncle sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who'd given my uncle sol a victor
victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the missouri
when my uncle sol's coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my uncle
sol

and started a worm farm)
--eec

the rose
is dying the
lips of an old man murder

the petals
hush
mysteriously
invisible mourners move
with prose faces and sobbing,garments
the symbol of the rose

motionless
with grieving feet and
wings
mounts

against the margins of steep song
a stallion sweetness ,the

lips of an old man murder

the petals
--eec

this is the garden:colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night's outer wing
strong silent greens serenely lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
this is the garden:pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms,and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

this is the garden. time shall surely reap
and on death's blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung;
yet stand They here enraptured,as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.
--eec

voices to voices,lip to lip
i swear(to noone everyone)constitutes
undying;or whatever this and that petal confutes...
to exist being a peculiar form of sleep

what's beyond logic happens beneath will;
nor can these moments be translated:i say
that even after april
by god there is no excuse for may

-bring forth your flowers and machinery:sculpture and prose
flowers guess and miss
machinery is the more accurate, yes
it delivers the goods,heaven knows

(yet are we mindful,though not as yet awake,
of ourselves which shout and cling,being
for a little while and which easily break
in spite of the best overseeing)

i mean that the blond abscence of any program
except last and always and first to live
makes unimportant what i and you believe;
not for philosophy does this rose give a damn...

bring on your fireworks,which are a mixed
splendor of piston and of pistil;very well
provided an instant may be fixed
so that it will not rub,like any other pastel.

(while you and i have lips and voices which
are for kissing and to sing with
who cares if some oneyed son for a bitch
invents an instrument to measure spring with?

each dream nascitur,is not made...)
why then to hell with that:the other;this,
since the thing perhaps is
to eat flower and not to be afraid.
--eec

you being in love
will tell who softly asks in love,

am i separated from your body smile brain hands merely
to become the jumping puppets of a dream? oh i mean:
entirely having in my careful how
careful arms created this at length
inexcusable, this inexplicable pleasure-you go from several
persons: believe me that strangers arrive
when i have kissed you into a memory
slowly, oh seriously
-that since and if you disappear

solemnly
myselves
ask "life, the question how do i drink dream smile

and how do i prefer this face to another and
why do i weep eat sleep-what does the whole intend"
they wonder. oh and they cry "to be, being, that i am alive
this absurd fraction in its lowest terms
with everything cancelled
but shadows
-what does it all come down to? love? love
if you like and i like,for the reason that i
hate people and lean out of this window is love,love
and the reason that i laugh and breathe is oh love and the reason
that i do not fall into this street is love."
--eec

you said is
there anything which
is dead or alive more beautiful
than my body,to have in your fingers
(trembling ever so little)?
looking into
your eyes nothing,i said,except the
air of spring smelling of never and forever.

....and through the lattice which moved as
if a hand is touched by a
hand(which
moved as though
fingers touch a girl's
breast,
lightly)
do you believe in always,the wind
said to the rain
i am too busy with
my flowers to believe,the rain answered
--eec

i shall imagine life
is not worth dying,if
(and when)roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose,roses(you feel
certain)will only smile
--eec

i spoke to thee
with a smile and thou didst not
answer
they mouth is as
a chord of crimson music
                  come hither
o thou is life not a smile?

i spoke to thee with
a song and thou
didst not listen
thine eyes are as a vase
of divine silence
                  come hither
o thou,is life not a song?

i spoke
to thee with a soul and
thou didst not wonder
thy face is as a dream locked
in white fragrance
                  come hither
o thou,is life not love?

i speak to
thee with a sword
and thou art silent
they breast is as a tomb
softer than flowers
                  come hither
o thou,is love not death?
--eec

yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
yours is the darkness of my soul's return
-you are my sun,my moon,and all my stars
--eec

rosetree,rosetree
-you're a song to see:whose
all(you're a sight to sing)
poems are opening, a
s if an earth was
playing at birthdays

each(a wish no
bigger than)in roguish
am of fragrance
dances a honeydunce;
whirling's a frantic
struts a pedantic

proud or humble,
equally they're welcome
-as if the humble proud
youngest bud testified
"giving(and giving
only)is living"

worlds of prose mind
utterly beyond is
brief that how infinite
(deeply immediate
fleet and profound this)
beautiful kindness

sweet such(past can's
every can't)immensest
mysteries contradict
a deathful realm of fact
-by their precision evolving vision

dreamtree,truthtree
tree of jubilee:with
aeons of(trivial
merely)existence,all
when may not measure
a now of your treasure
--eec

silence
.is
a
looking

bird:the

turn
ing;edge,of

life

(inquiry before snow
--eec

you are like the snow only
purer fleeter, like the rain
only sweeter frailer you

who certain
flowers resemble but trembling (cowards
which fear
to miss within your least gesture the hurting
skill which lives) and since

nothing lingers
beyond a little instant,
along with rhyme and with laughter
o my lady
(and every brittle marvelous breathing thing)

since you and i are on our way to dust

of your fragility
(but chiefly of your smile,
most suddenly which is
of love and death a marriage) you grieve

courage
so that against myself
the sharp days slobber in vain:

nor am i afraid that
this, which we call autumn, cleverly
dies and over the ripe world wanders with
a near and careful
smile in his mouth (making

everything suddenly old and with his awkward eyes
pushing
sleep and thoroughly
into all beautiful things)

winter, whom spring shall kill.
-–eec

this is the garden: colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night's outer wing
strong silent greens serenely lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
this is the garden: pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms, and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

this is the garden. time shall surely reap
and on death's blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung; yet stand They here enraptured, as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.
--eec

in the middle of a room
stands a suicide
sniffing a paperrose
smiling to a self

“somewhere it is spring and sometimes
people ar in real:imagine
somewhere real flowers, but
i can’t imagine real flowers for if i

could, they somehow
not be real”
(so he smiles
smiling) “but I will not

everywhere be real to
you in a moment”
the is blond
with small hands

“& everything is easier
than i had guessed everything would
be; even remembering the way who
looked at whom first, anyhow dancing”

(a moon swims out of a cloud
a clock strikes midnight
a finger pulls a trigger
a bird flies into a mirror)
--eec

lily has a rose
(i have none)
"don't cry dear violet
you may take mine"

"o how how how
could i ever wear it now
when the boy who gave it to
you is the tallest of the boys"

"he'll give me another
if i let him kiss me twice
but my lover has a brother
who is good and kind to all"

"o no no no
let the roses come and go
for kindness and goodness do
not make a fellow tall"

lily has a rose
no rose i’ve
and losings less than winning(but
love is more than love)
--eec

if freckles were lovely,
and day was night,
and measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
life would be delight,--
but things couldn’t go right
for in such a sad plight
i wouldn’t be i.

if earth was heaven
and now was hence,
and past was present, and false was true,
there might be some sense
but i’d be in suspense
for on such a pretense
you wouldn’t be you.

if fear was plucky, and globes were square,
and dirt was cleanly and tears were glee
things would seem fair,--
yet they’d all despair,
for if here was there
we wouldn’t be we.
--eec

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)

in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend, remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me
--eec

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did.

women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she lauged his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes

women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
--eec

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
not fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars part

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
--eec

suppose
life is an old man carrying flowers on his head.

young death sits in a cafe
smiling, a piece of money held between
his thumb and his first finger

(i say "will he buy flowers" to you
and death is young
life wears velour trousers
life totters, life has a beard" i

say to you who are silent.-"do you see
life? he is there and here,
or that, or this
or nothing or an old man 3 thirds
asleep, on his head
flowers, always crying
to nobody something about les
roses les bluets


yes,
                     will he buy?


les belles bottes-oh hear
, pas cheres")

and my love slowly answered i think so. but
i think i see someone else

there is a lady, whose name is afterwards
she is sitting beside young death, is slender;
likes flowers.
--eec

who knows if the moon's
a baloon,coming out of a keen ciry
in the sky-filled with pretty people?get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we;d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where


always
       it's
           spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves


--eec

who are you,little i
(five or six years old)
peering from some high
window;at the gold
of november sunset
(and feeling:that if day
has to become night
this is a beautiful way)
--eec

i feel that(false and true are merely to know)
love only has ever been is, and will be, so
--eec

lady i swear by all flowers.
--eec

times a strange fellow;
more he gives than takes
(and he takes all)
--eec