Poetry Monday: i thank You God (E.E. Cummings)

Today’s featured poet is my all-time forever favorite poet: E.E. Cummings. (He used to capitalize his name when he signed things, so I capitalize it too.)

E.E. Cummings was born in 1884 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (I have visited the house in which he grew up–or rather, I made a pilgrimage to a plaque on the exterior wall of the property!) He is best-known for his unconventional, grammatically-subversive poetic style, but he produced other kinds of art too: paintings, drawings, plays, two novels, and essays. He was heavily influenced by the time he spent in France, first as an ambulance driver during WWI, then as a detainee in a concentration camp in Normandy for 3 months, then on many subsequent (more pleasant) return visits. His work is highly political, mind-bendingly inventive, and imbued with a charming sense of breathless wonder.

This is one of his well-known poems. I chose to feature this one partly because of its deep, true thankfulness– and partly because I can offer extra credit. After reading the poem, I’d encourage you to check out a recording of Cummings reading this poem, and a lovely musical/choral arrangement by Eric Whitacre: worship music.


i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


4 responses to “Poetry Monday: i thank You God (E.E. Cummings)

  1. ashsanders July 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I love this man. That is all.

  2. Jenne Erigero Alderks July 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    This is likely my favorite poem. A few weeks ago, I have posted in on my facebook profile because it so perfectly expressed what I was feeling in response to that day. The musical arrangement can be stunningly expressive as well. The best performance I have heard of it was at The Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle done by the congregation choir.

  3. mfranti July 26, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Missy, what a wonderful poem. Thank you for sharing it and bringing it to my attention.

    Thank you so much for this feature.

  4. JamesM July 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    What you may also find interesting is that the BYU Singers has enjoyed a close association with Eric Whitacre over the years. I was with the choir when we recorded what is essentially the “authoritative” version of that piece in 2002 as part of “Eric Whitacre: The Complete Acapella Works 1991-2001.” This e.e. Cummings setting is one of Eric’s best among what is some fairly breathtaking music.

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