1, e. e. cummings

by richibi

among poets one of my favourites is e. e. cummings, who famously eschewed – gesundheit – capitals, even in the spelling of his own name

for years for my own reasons I did the same, I felt that capitals usurped a power, an authority, they too often could not justify, I was left with “God” and “I” as worthy and warranted entities, often even “God” wouldn’t cut it, and was relegated to the more pedestrian lower case “god”, which led of course to “gods”, and incidentally to a more luxuriant and panoplied pantheon, a heaven richer in colour and idiosyncracies than our own culture’s usual abnegations

this process had me probing each item’s validity in order to make some sense of my too fleeting world

there are still not many capitals in my compositions

e. e. cummings does many more things with language than I do, but I cannot tell you where any of his impulses come from, I am left with only his poems

but a poem should need nothing else

most of his poems for me don’t, in order to enchant
                                                                                                                                                                      here’s something I came upon serendipitously as I waited on a friend in a bookstore, I thought I’d pass the few minutes I had to wait browsing through books of poems, one takes just that much time to savour a poem, not much more usually than a glass of wine, sometimes they’re even memorable

this poem is taken from a chapter entitled “Erotic Poetry” in a collection edited by Richard Kostelanetz called “AnOther”

which I  bought

it is the first poem in that section, and titled merely “1”

                                                                                                                                                                        out of bigg

est the knownun
on tiptoe darkne


into a s

ld 2 to

be blessed by
shadows of ove

r us-you-me a



e. e. cummings  (1894-1962)


this kind of thing has a precedent of course in the work of James Joyce (1882-1941), his “Finnegan’s Wake” goes on for several hundred pages in this manner, and left me for one in the dust

in music Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951) was also deconstructing his medium, breaking down musical notation into seemingly random organizations of sound, atonality eschewed – gesundheit – most all of the rules of earlier composition, presciently making way however for everything from the shrieking guitar
meanderings of Jimi Hendrix to the vocal pyrotechnics and eccentricities of Prince through the clanging and oracular pronouncements of Pink Floyd

neither Joyce nor Schönberg can be easily dismissed

nor e. e. cummings

all the very best