07 July 2016

Poetry Thursday - as freedom is a breakfastfood by e e cummings

selected poems 1923-1958 "...made by the author from eleven booskofpoems"

as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
—long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame

as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald mens hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
—long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung

or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common’s rare and millstones float
—long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late

worms are the words but joy’s the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do 
—time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

- e e cummings (via)

Cummings (1894-1962) wrote so many interesting poems - interesting, I think, because of his linguistic trickery. Tricks like juxtaposed words to make new ones, esoteric (if that's the right word) punctuation, grammatical innovation (eg, using "which" and "who" as nouns), eye-catching spatial organisation, and of course his trademark lack of capital letters. I wonder whether he would have had interesting conversation with Noah Webster, the author of the dictionary (published 1828) that solidified American spelling, and Melvil Dewey of the decimal system of library organisation (published 1876), who was an advocate of even more radical spelling reform. Perhaps they all would have come to blows! 
from p.43
As is, or was, conventional for poetry books, there is an index of first lines, which acts as an alphabetical table of contents, as very few poems have separate titles.

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