Images, like smells, are a powerful tie to memory: the sight of certain flowers may remind you of your first love, a rain-slicked highway smacks you full in the face with the memory of long hours spent driving to your grandmother’s house for summer vacation. Poetry is consumed by imagery, and master poets have a way of weaving words into powerful pictures that close your throat and catch your breath, leaving you breathless even years after you first read the poem, remembering, lingering within that world.
E.E. Cummings is one of those rare poets whose poems are finely spun as a spider web, glittering in a sunrise dew, and just as captivating. Most of his poems did not have titles, leaving the reader to plunge in head-first with no pre-conceived idea of what the piece is about. I like that. Following is one of my all-time favorite poems: the last line especially has stuck with me since I first read it, decades ago, and is a line that I find myself muttering under my breath in times of stress or anxiety.
As always, let us know what you think about the poem – or if you have suggestions for a poem or poet to feature here – by posting in the comments. Hope you enjoy!
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose or if your wish be to close me, i and my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the color of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands