14 October 2005

Eternal us

you and I are not snobs. We can never be born enough. We are human beings;for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery,the mystery of growing:which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves. You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming. Life,for eternal us,is now'and now is much to busy being a little more than everything to seem anything,catastrophic included.

Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles: they are somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn,a human being;somebody who said to those near him,when his fingers would not hold a brush "tie it to my hand"-- [...]

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question
~ E.E. Cummings, born on this day in 1894

It's no secret that Cummings is one of my favorite poets (right up there with Eliot and Yeats). Thanks to wood s lot, I've discovered a treasure trove of his paintings, from which the above work ("the book") is taken. (If you've got a few thousand lying around, you could even buy one!)

Random notes:

In the past, I've attempted to wax eloquent on the kinds of things that go on beneath the surface of his poems.

The Fairy Tales he wrote for his daughter, Nancy, are quite wonderful. "The Old Man Who Said Why," "The Elephant and the Butterfly," "The House That Ate Mosquito Pie," and "The Little Girl Named I" are all beautiful little stories that I fell in love with as a child.

When I lived in Boston, I tripped up to Cambridge to see the family home--right across the street from William James' place. A friend and I also ambled through the cemetary in Jamaica Plain where he and Marion are buried. A lovely place, actually.


Tom Wilkinson said...

Have you ever read Kathleen Norris' "The Virgin of Bennington"? It's about her younger years in New York (before moving to South Dakota) and Betty Kray who ran the American Academy of Poets (before there was an NEA to support them).

Well I was reading the final chapters this afternoon and she was talking about passing along to Betty that Marion had passed away. Then Betty told her the first of many stories about being ee's agent for readings and how Marion was always leary of the younger women he spent time with since he had already left his first wife to be with her, a younger woman.

They developed the daily ritual that "every night around ten o'clock he would come by, tap on my window and I would go with him on a long prowl through the Village streets. We walked and I listened and he talked about himself, about the world, about the things he loved. I disagreed with much of his political belief but held my tongue; he was quite vulnerable during this period...He would disprove over and over again the critics' charge that neither his poems nor his paintings showed "development"; this to him was the most intolerable of all the criticism. What I liked best was to have him reminisce about his early years in New York, and he told some fine stories."

Fascinating, lovely stuff. If you haven't gotten around to it yet you certainly should.

amcorrea said...

Thanks for the tip! Bill Mallonee has recommended it to me a couple of times, but I hadn't been fortunate enough to run across a copy. Sounds like something to track down later this winter.