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)