Classics  
Edward Estlin Cummings, popularly known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in all lowercase letters as e. e. cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, an autobiographical novel, four plays ... Read more
Edward Estlin Cummings, popularly known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in all lowercase letters as e. e. cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, an autobiographical novel, four plays ... Read more

your little voice
                    Over the wires came leaping
and i felt suddenly
dizzy
     With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers
wee skipping high-heeled flames
courtesied before my eyes
                             or twinkling over to my side
Looked up
with impertinently exquisite faces
floating hands were laid upon me
I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing
up
Up
with the pale important
                          stars and the Humorous
                                                  moon
dear girl
How i was crazy how i cried when i heard
                                            over time
and tide and death
leaping
Sweetly
          your voice

the rose
is dying the
lips of an old man murder

the petals
hush

mysteriously invisible mourners move
with prose faces and sobbing,garments
The symbol of the rose

motionless
with grieving feet and
wings
mounts

against the margins of steep song
a stallion swetneess    ,the

lips of an old man murder
the petals.

the
     sky
           was
can    dy    lu
minous
            edible
spry
        pinks shy
lemons
greens    coo    1 choc
olate
s.

  un    der,
  a    lo
co
mo
      tive        s  pout
                               ing
                                     vi
                                     o
                                     lets

cruelly,love
walk the autumn long;
the last flower in whose hair,
they lips are cold with songs

for which is
first to wither,to pass?
shallowness of sunlight
falls,and cruelly,
across the grass
Comes the
moon

love,walk the
autumn
love,for the last
flower in the hair withers;
thy hair is acold with
dreams,
love thou art frail

—walk the longness of autumn
smile dustily to the people,
for winter
who crookedly care.

why did you go
little fourpaws?
you forgot to shut
your big eyes.

where did you go?
like little kittens
are all the leaves
which open in the rain.

little kittens who
are called spring,
is what we stroke
maybe asleep?

do you know?or maybe did
something go away
ever so quietly
when we weren’t looking.

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly
added

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle
Sol

and started a worm farm)

my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
myself
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
bellowings.

notice the convulsed orange inch of moon
perching on this silver minute of evening.

We’ll choose the way to the forest—no offense
to you,white town whose spires softly dare.
Will take the houseless wisping rune
of road lazily carved on sharpening air.

Fields lying miraculous in violent silence

fill with microscopic whithering
…(that’s the Black People, chérie,
who live under stones.) Don’t be afraid

and we will pass the simple ugliness
of exact tombs,where a large road crosses
and all the people are minutely dead.

Then you will slowly kiss me

between the breasts
of bestial
Marj lie large
men who praise

Marj’s cleancornered strokable
body      these men’s
fingers toss trunks
shuffle sacks spin kegs they

curl
loving
around
beers

      the world has
these men’s hands but their
bodies big and boozing
belong to

Marj
the greenslim purse of whose
face opens
on a fatgold

grin
hooray
hoorah for the large
men who lie

between the breasts
of bestial Marj
for the strong men
who

sleep between the legs of Lil

my girl’s tall with hard long eyes
as she stands,with her long hard hands keeping
silence on her dress,good for sleeping
is her long hard body filled with surprise
like a white shocking wire, when she smiles
a hard long smile it sometimes makes
gaily go clean through me tickling aches,
and the weak noise of her eyes easily files
my impatience to an edge—my girl’s tall
and taut, with thin legs just like a vine
that’s spent all of its life on a garden-wall,
and is going to die.  When we grimly go to bed
with these legs she begins to heave and twine
about me,and to kiss my face and head.

when god lets my body be

from each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit that dangles therefrom

the purpled world will dance upon
between my lips which did sing

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passion wastes

will lay between their little breasts
my strong fingers beneath the snow

into strenuous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with her face
and all the while shall my heart be
with the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

suppose
Life is an old man carrying flowers on his head.

young death sits in a café
smiling,a piece of money held between
his thumb and first finger

(i say “will he buy flowers” to you
and “Death is young
life wears velour trousers
life totters,life has a beard” i

say to you who are silent.—”Do you see
Life?he is there and here,
or that, or this
or nothing or an old man 3 thirds
asleep,on his head
flowers,always crying
to nobody something about les
roses les bluets
                    yes,
                              will He buy?
Les belles bottes—oh hear
,pas chères”)

and my love slowly answered I think so.  But
I think I see someone else

there is a lady,whose name is Afterwards
she is sitting beside young death,is slender;
likes flowers.

the mind is its own beautiful prisoner.
Mind looked long at the sticky moon
opening in dusk her new wings

then decently hanged himself,one afternoon.

The last thing he saw was you
naked amid unnaked things,

your flesh,a succinct wandlike animal,
a little strolling with the futile purr
of blood;your sex squeaked like a billiard-cue
chalking itself,as not to make an error,
with twists spontaneously methodical.
He suddenly tasted worms windows and roses

he laughed,and closed his eyes as a girl closes
her left hand upon a mirror.

i have loved,let us see if that’s all.
Bit into you as teeth,in the stone
of a musical fruit.  My lips pleasantly groan
on your taste.  Jumped the quick wall

of your smile into stupid gardens
if this were not enough(not really enough
pulled one before one the vague tough

exquisite

              flowers, whom hardens
richly, darkness. On the whole
possibly have i loved….?you)
                                    sheath before sheath

stripped to the Odour.  (and here’s what WhoEver will know
Had you as bite teeth;
i stood with you as a foal

stands but as the trees,lay,which grow

when life is quite through with
and leaves say alas,
much is to do
for the swallow,that closes
a flight in the blue;

when love’s had his tears out,
perhaps shall pass
a million years
(while a bee dozes
on the poppies, the dears;

when all’s done and said,and
under the grass
lies her head
by oaks and roses
deliberated.)

Thy fingers make early flowers
of all things.
thy hair mostly the hours love:
a smoothness which
sings,saying
(though love be a day)
do not fear,we will go amaying.

thy whitest feet crisply are straying.
Always
thy moist eyes are at kisses playing,
whose strangeness much
says;singing
(though love be a day)
for which girl art thou flowers bringing?

To be thy lips is a sweet thing
and small.
Death,thee i call rich beyond wishing
if this thou catch,
else missing.
(though love be a day
and life be nothing,it shall not stop kissing).

i like
to think that on
the flower you gave me when we
loved

          the far-
departed mouth sweetly-saluted
lingers.
            if one marvel

seeing the hunger of my
lips for a dead thing,
i shall instruct
him silently with becoming

steps to seek
your face     and i
entreat,by certain foolish perfect
hours

         dead too,
if that he come receive
him as your lover sumptuously
being

kind
because i trust him to
your grace,and for
in his own land

he is called death.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the merry deer ran before.

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

Horn at hip went my love riding
riding the echo down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the level meadows ran before.

Softer be they than slippered sleep
the lean lithe deer
the fleet flown deer.

Four fleet does at a gold valley
the famished arrows sang before.

Bow at belt went my love riding
riding the mountain down into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the sheer peaks ran before.

Paler be they than daunting death
the sleek slim deer
the tall tense deer.

Four tall stags at a green mountain
the lucky hunter sang before.

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

when my love comes to see me it’s
just a little like music,a
little more like curving colour(say
orange)
          against silence,or darkness….

the coming of my love emits
a wonderful smell in my mind,

you should see when i turn to find
her how my least 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 luminous and precise

—and then we are I and She….

what is that the hurdy-gurdy’s playing

1

It was one of those clear,sharp.mustless days
        That summer and man delight in.
Never had Heaven seemed quite so high,
Never had earth seemed quite so green,
Never had the world seemed quite so clean
Or sky so nigh.
        And I heard the Deity’s voice in

  The sun’s warm rays,
        And the white cloud’s intricate maze,
And the blue sky’s beautiful sheen.

         2

I looked to the heavens and saw him there,—
        A black speck downward drifting,
Nearer and nearer he steadily sailed,
Nearer and nearer he slid through space,
In an unending aerial race,
       This sailor who hailed
       From the Clime of the Clouds.—Ever shifting,

  On billows of air
        And the blue sky seemed never so fair,
And the rest of the world kept pace.

         3

On the white of his head the sun flashed bright;
        And he battled the wind with wide pinions,
Clearer and clearer the gale whistled loud,
Clearer and clearer he came into view,—
Bigger and blacker against the blue.
        Then a dragon of cloud
        Gathering all its minions
            Rushed to the fight,
        And swallowed him up in a bite;
And the sky lay empty clear through.

         4

Long I watched.   And at last afar
        Caught sight of a speck in the vastness;
Ever smaller,ever decreasing,
Ever drifting,drifting awayInto the endless realms of day;
        Finally ceasing.
        So into Heaven’s vast fastness
           Vanished that bar
Of black,as a fluttering star
Goes out while still on its way.

         5

So I lost him.   But I shall always see
            In my mind
The warm,yellow sun,and the ether free;
The vista’s sky,and the white cloud trailing,
        Trailing behind,—
And below the young earth’s summer-green arbors,
And on high the eagle,—sailing,sailing
        Into far skies and unknown harbors

 
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