is 5 review.

I found this selection in an old stack of my mom’s book collection. I never bothered to skim it, but with this series I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. E.E. Cummings was a master of poetry.

The title comes from Cummings’s approach to writing poetry, as he explains in the foreword:

…Ineluctable preoccupation with The Verb gives a poet one priceless advantage: whereas nonmakers must content themselves with the merely undeniable fact that two time two is four, he rejoices in a purely irresistible truth (to be found, in abbreviated costume, upon the title page of the present volume.)


His idiosyncratic use of punctuation, grammar, and s p a c i n g is really original. is 5 is a continuation of the poet’s exploration of love and the triumph of the individual over conformity and complacency. It was something quite out of my comfort zone to read, but once again, I’m so glad I did. It gave me a greater appreciation for the art form. I hope to pick up some of his other work and dive into the mind that is E.E. Cummings.

along the brittle treacherous bright streets
of memory comes my heart,singing like
an idiot,whispering like a drunken man

who(at a certain corner,suddenly)meets
the tall policeman of my mind.

being not asleep,elsewhere our dreams began
which now are folded:but the year completes
his life as a forgotten prisoner

-“Ici?”-“Ah non,mon cheri;il fait trop froid” –
they are gone:along these gardens moves a wind bringing
rain and leaves,filling the air with fear
and sweetness….pauses. (Halfwhispering….halfsinging

stirs the always smiling chevaux de bois)

when you were in Paris we met here

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
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

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