anyone lived in a pretty how town

August 1, 2006 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

e e cummings

Listen (to Yesha read)

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 laughed 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 hoe and then)they
said their nevers and they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt for 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

Ah, cummings. Underneath all that trickiness, all that tripping cleverness, that playful yet intense engagement of language, hides a deeply sublime, deeply poetic voice. Lyrical as cummings is in sound, he is even more lyrical, to the point of being sentimental, in sense.

This poem is as good an example as any. Get past the glorious skipping rhythm of the poem, and you’ll find a touching pastoral, a vision of the cycle of time wheeling endlessly, so that the repetition of phrases in the poem becomes an embodiment of the repetition of the seasons themselves. This is a poem about what Lowell calls “the eternal return of earth’s fairer children” [1], about the unwavering arc of all our lives. It is a poem about anyone, but it is also a poem about everyone.

Links:

For more commentary see Minstrels.

Previous poems by cummings we’ve run on poi-tre:

somewhere I have never travelled

Notes:

[1] Lowell writes:

“I’m for and with myself in my otherness,

in the eternal return of earth’s fairer children,

the lily, the rose, the sun on brick at dusk,

the loved, the lover, and their fear of life,

their unconquered flux, insensate oneness, painful ‘It was…'”

– Robert Lowell ‘Obit’

[falstaff]

A new contributor – Yesha!

Yesha runs two very interesting and fun podcast shows – Chutney Sandwiches and Generation 1.5 on Podbazaar.

A couple of episodes I would have to recommend here – the ones where she and her dad talk about Ghazals (he recites quite a few ghazals by Ghalib and Kaifi (1, 2, 3) and explains the form).

[blackmamba]

Entry filed under: Edward Estlin Cummings, English, Yesha. Tags: .

The Purist Khuubsurat moR

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