the root of the root

I remember that in high school, when one of my beloved English teachers told us that he wrote his college thesis on e.e. cummings, I didn’t quite understand what he saw in the poet. My knowledge of cummings at the time was limited–I knew him as a man who loved lowercase and wrote “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” In the past few years, I have slowly come to appreciate and even love e.e. cummings for his playful imagination and his lyrical inventiveness. Edward Estlin Cummings–yes, that’s what the e’s stand for– is truly a poet who is fun to read.


“Humanity i love you”

Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shops and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you

(This next one is probably over-quoted at weddings or movies that have weddings in them, but I like it anyways)

“i carry your heart with me”

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 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)


3 thoughts on “the root of the root

  1. Natalie,

    I’m so glad that something came of all that time spent in Honors English 11 so very many years ago!

  2. My love of e.e. cummings is merely an example of one of the many things that came out of my time in your class. =)

  3. Wow. I wish my high school AP English teachers read my blog. I still love them very much.

    I still remember the day we read Eliot’s Prufrock poem in 11th grade AP English. That 50-minute class changed my life. Before I walked into class that day, I knew nothing about myself and the world. I walked out a little bigger and very shaken. I hadn’t really read any poetry before, and I’d been mostly interested in math and programming computers.

    Poetry has taught me everything I know about philosophy, God, seduction, friendship, charity, promiscuity, and… and that’s about it.

    When I encountered the Prufrock poem, I really didn’t know what to make of it. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I didn’t understand it, but I felt so drawn to it nevertheless. Of course, even today I still don’t understand it, but that’s a different matter.

    Teachers do change lives. If I hadn’t had those two English teachers I shudder to think the kind of life I’d be living today (a happier, more oblivious one, no doubt).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s