Thursday, August 17, 2006

i carry your heart with me

by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

* * *

More Cummings. Sorry Chestertonian. And Meredith may copy-edit this too if she pleases. I got this anthology as a gift yesterday, and I'm finding lots of things I like by poets I don't often read or have never heard of. It's a good change to read something besides Hopkins and Tennyson and Chesterton every once in awhile, even if those are my favorites.

Whatever else might be said of Cummings, he did know how to write a good love poem. I especially like the endearments scattered around: "my dear," "my darling," "my sweet," "my true."

3 comments:

Meredith said...

I carry your heart with me
(I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (Anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
By only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear
No fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want
No world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you.

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows:
(Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life, which grows
Higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart:

I carry your heart.
(I carry it in my heart.)


What do you think? Am I a Phillistine? Come and tell me, ye Cummings fans!

Leah said...

cummings fan signing on. :-)

I'm not sure of myself here, because I'm no authority on cummings or on why he wrote the way he did, but my feeling is that it has a lot to do with reading the poems out loud.

When you read his poems aloud the way he wrote them (running words together in one breath when he leaves out spaces, taking slightly longer pauses for emphasis when he just "hangs" a word in space on the middle of the page) it's an exhilirating and exalting experience. You're forced into a mood and a tone of voice, instead of just intoning words. To test my theory, I just read the "real" version of "i carry your heart with me" and then I read the copy-edited version :-) and I felt like something was lost. Maybe it's just me. Someone else try it and see what you think!

Sheila said...

you do have a point,leah ;)

However, did anyone besides me notice that it's almost a sonnet?

Here's the last word of each line (if you stick "i fear" onto the end of line 4):

in
anywhere
done
fear
want
true
meant
you
knows
bud
grows
hide
apart
heart

Some of it is only consonance, but mostly it rhymes like a Shakespearean sonnet.

Rather Hop-
kinsian, don't you think, Meredith?

(Speaking of poets who don't follow the rules. ;) )