I thought I’d add some value to the intarweb by posting poems from my personal anthology-in-progress. I have six or seven feet of bookshelf devoted to poetry, and eventually I’d like to have all of my favourite works online. I read somewhere that Welsh bards used to qualify for the position by memorising a thousand poems; I’m not Welsh and I don’t want to be a bard, but I quite like the idea of having a thousand poems by heart. This, at least, is a start.
Here’s ee cummings, the first poet whose work stuck to me like a burr so that I had to read all of it, and a generous helping of criticism besides. There will be lots more cummings in the final anthology.

if i have made,my lady,intricate
if i have made,my lady,intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes(frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body’s whitest song
upon my mind-if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy-if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair
-let the world say “his most wise music stole
nothing from death”-
you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive)my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came
into the ragged meadow of my soul.

since feeling is first
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
and death i think is no parenthesis

One thought on “anthology

  1. One could make a convincing argument that e.e. cummings is responsible for pushing me to become the person I am today.
    When I was in high school I wrote poetry, the trite, maudlin stuff that many high school boys write. It was standard stuff. Then I found cummings and he shattered my poetry world view. He taught me to think outside the lines.
    And it wasn’t long until I began to think outside the lines in other aspects of my life…

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