e.e. cummings is one of my favorite poets – most people recognize him for his refusal to capitalize, his odd punctuation, his unorthodox use of space, and his inventive diction.
M. L. Rosenthal wrote in The Modern Poets: A Critical Introduction: “The chief effect of Cummings’ jugglery with syntax, grammar, and diction was to blow open otherwise trite and bathetic motifs through a dynamic rediscovery of the energies sealed up in conventional usage…. He succeeded masterfully in splitting the atom of the cute commonplace.” S. I. Hayakawa remarked in Poetry “No modern poet to my knowledge has such a clear, childlike perception as E. E. Cummings—a way of coming smack against things with unaffected delight and wonder. This candor … results in breath-takingly clean vision.” Norman Friedman explained in E. E. Cummings: The Growth of a Writer that Cummings’ innovations “are best understood as various ways of stripping the film of familiarity from language in order to strip the film of familiarity from the world. Transform the word, he seems to have felt, and you are on the way to transforming the world.”
All of that offered as “pre-ramble,” there’s a Cummings poem that I revisit every spring, usually during Holy week or during the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday). By way of sharing, here it is.
no time ago
no time ago
or else a life
walking in the dark
i met Christ
and lay still
while he passed(as
close as i’m to you
made of nothing
My sincerest best wishes to readers of every faith and belief for a blessed and beautiful spring!
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