Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Footnote on Breaking the Rules

Stop reading if you don't like sweet love poetry, but ee cummings is the obvious choice for poet-who-breaks-the-rules-with-purpose.

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
no 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 a tree
called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

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

All these words jumbled so close together--it's written like it should be said... close in, squeezed together like a hug or faces almost touching. Awhh, my nearly thawed heart thinks that's nice.

He keeps talking about carrying her heart within his own and we see parenthesis inside parenthesis--sweetness contained within sweetness. Even the feeling that parenthesis themselves normally convey is something of extra knowledge even inside or intimate knowledge. I see what he's doing here... using punctuation with purpose. Even the shape (and cummings, like donne, is all about the shape of the printed poem) of parenthesis are like arms encircling.

And, no surprise, no end punctuation anywhere in his poem--just a sprinkling of semicolons and gobs of parenthesis. His long winding sentence doesn't particularly end anywhere. No end to his LOVE? Eh? Anyone? Even the last sentence just puts us back where we started. Another circle!

There is all this repitition and overlapping--just like their souls!

I will say even though some might think he is a little nonsensical, nothing in it is done haphazardly. If you read it using his line breaks and whatnot, it certainly has a purposeful rhythm and even if it lacks a predictable rhyme scheme, it has little bursts of surprising assonance. Although not a typical 14-line sonnet, it has an abstracted version of the three quatrains and couplet.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

*Extra* sweet. I haven't read much ee cummings(but obviously need to)