e. e. cummings: Poems #9

Poem IX from Tulips (1922)

when god lets my body be

From each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit dangles therefrom

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

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passions wastes

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

Into strenous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with their face
and all the while shall my heart be

With the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

SONNET IX from Tulips (1922)

the hours rise up putting off stars and it is
into the street of the sky light walks scattering poems

on earth a candle is
extinguished      the city
with a song upon her
mouth having death in her eyes

and it is dawn
the world
goes forth to murder dreams...

i see in the street where strong
men are digging bread
and i see brutal faces of
people contented hideous hopeless cruel happy

and it is day

in the mirror
i see a frail
dreams in a mirror

and it
is dusk      on earth

a candle is lighted
and it is dark.
the people are in their houses
the frail man is in his bed
the city
sleeps with death upon her mouth having a song in her eyes
the hours descend,
putting on stars...

in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems

Poem IX from Chimneys (1923)

nearer:breath of my breath:take not thy tingling
limbs from me:make my pain their crazy meal
letting thy tigers of smooth sweetness steal
slowly in dumb blossoms of new mingling:
deeper: blood of my blood: with upward cringing
swiftness plunge these leopards of white dream
in the glad flesh of my fear:more neatly ream
this pith of darkness:carve an evilfringing
flower of madness on glittered lips
and on sprawled eyes squirming with light insane
chisel the killing flame that dizzily grips.

Querying greys between mouthed houses curl

thirstily. Dead stars stink. dawn. Inane,

the poetic carcass of a girl

Poem IX from from Chimneys (1923)

this is the garden:colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night's outer wing
strong silent greens silently lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
This is the garden:pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms,and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

This is the garden. Time shall surely reap
and on Death's blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung;
yet stand They here enraptured,as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.

Poem 9: Music from Uncollected Poems (1991)

Music is sweet from the thrush's throat!
     Oh little thrush
     With the holy note.
Like a footstep of God in a sick-room's hush
     My soul you crush.

Unstopped organ, from earth you break
     To knock at the skies,
     And I can but shake
My fragile fetters, and with you rise
     Into Paradise.
But Love, your music requires not wings.
     To the common breed
     It clings, and sings:
"Heaven on earth is Heaven indeed.
     This is my creed."

e. e. cummings (1894-1962)
Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Ed. George J. Firmage)
Liveright, New York, 1991, pp. 19, 67, 123, 144, 857

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