e.e. cummings (more at The Academy of American Poets), an Massachusetts writer - primarily a poet (1894-1962), who, one would hope, you've heard of, is most known for his unusual word usage, phrasing, and typography (for more on typography see this encyclopedia article at thefreedictionary.com; another definiton from businessdictionary.com; and this article, "What is Typography?", from About.com Web Design / HTML). He is especially known for his unique use of syntax, punctuation, and enjambment. His protest poetry and his social commentary poems are probably the most-often mentioned. At least, that's the impression I've gotten from both my secondary and higher educational experiences, as well as my own observations of what is and isn't usually included in anthologies, mentioned in articles, featured on websites, and the like. However, in my extensive post-school exporation of his work, I've discovered two things - first, the man loooooved women and second, he could write one hell of a love poem, erotic or not. I will admit this little dirty secret as well - his erotica makes my panties get more than a little damp and makes my skin turn pink with the flush his words force upon it.
Today, I'm going to share with you my favorite straightforward, non-erotic e.e. cummings love poem (though, there is something melty and sexual about it in its ferocity of emotion and its exporession of devotion), as well as two more explicit poems. However, I warn you, if you're expecting anything but metaphor with mister cummings, you're looking in the wrong place entirely. That does not prevent him from explicitly stating his meaning within the framework of that metaphor though, and doing so beautifully and poignantly as well. In one of the poems presented today, you'd be hard-pressed not to smell the reek of sex wafting from the page - that is, if this were a book, as it should be, and not a computer or cell phone or tablet or e-reader or what have you, you technophile, you! Whoa... enough of that nonsense ranting. Okay, not complete nonsense - in the lifetime of e.e. cummings, 1894-1962, not a soul read anything but a book, because that's all that was availble (print copies of written materials, duh), hence, the previous technology rant and my sudden and overpowering nostalgia for real books. Anyway, regardless of the cause of that blathering and babbling, it's time to move on and get this show on the road. Without further ado, I present to you my second favorite e.e. cummings poem (perhaps) and maybe his finest love poem (also read somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond for comparison) followed by two of his more erotic offerings.
"i carry your heart
i carry your heart with me(i carry in 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)
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)"
- e.e. cummings
Next, I am going to convince you even e.e. cummings could be erotic. In the next poem, cummings uses a simile likening a lovers' tryst to music at first, then goes on to use other various and varied similes and metaphors, the imagery strong and undeniable, to make clear the undefined, confused, conflicted atmosphere of the couple's rendez-vous. Eventually, ending the poem with a question that seems to sum up the ambivalent nature of their relationship portrayed within, he brings the poem back around to music with a question that serves as both the defining question of the poem and as a musical allusion, since the hurdy-gurdy is a musical instrument . In my opinion, the poem is effing brilliant. And now, (drumroll please) here's...
"when my love comes to see it's
when my love comes to see me it's
just a little like music, a
little like curving color (say
against silence, or darkness...
the tower of my love emits
a wonderful smell in my mind,
you should see when i turn to find
her how least my heart-beat becomes less.
And then all her beauty is a vise
whose stilling lips murder suddenly me,
but of my corpse the tool her smile makes something
suddenly luminious and precise
-and then we are I and She...
what is that the hurdy-gurdy's playing"
- e.e. cummings
Last, but not least, we have a poem that may need no introduction. Perhaps the most famous of cummings' romantic and risque work, this poem, while it does make use of some of the most lovely imagery I've ever had the pleasure to read, leaves nothing to the imagination either, and in places, all but explicitly spells out the good parts. It is perhaps for that reason, it is so widely read and quoted. This poem, unlike the previous poem, however, is quite clear in its intent - to praise the female and to express the narrator's adoration of her, the pleasure he finds exploring and learning her body, and how each new discovery makes him that much more in awe of her. It is truly a hymn to the female form and the act of love between two people and for that, this would most definitely be my favorite of cummings more risque or erotic poems. And now, on to the sexy stuffs...
"i like my body when it is with your
i like my body when it is with your
body. it is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does to me.
i like its hows. i like to feel the the spine
of your body and its bones, the trembling
-firm-smooth ness of which i will
again and again and again
kiss. i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh ... and eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new"
- e.e. cummings
I think you'll see there's definitely a reason to get ya some more e.e. cummings. I suggest checking out the amazon kindle store or google books. And that's all she wrote, folks. Au revoir. Arriverderci. Adios.