It’s that time of year again, when the sale of roses rise and candy is shuffled around inside heart-shaped boxes: Valentine’s Day. No matter what you think about the holiday (whether it’s about celebrating love or a commercially-induced marketing ploy), it is a day set aside to take time to let that someone special know how much you love and appreciate him or her, and that you would choose them again, every day.

There are dozens, hundreds, of examples of stirring, evocative love poems – ranging from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Phillip Lopate – but my personal favorites stem from the pen of e. e. cummings, an experimental, imaginative poet who, at his death, was the second most widely read poet in the United States after Robert Frost.

I hope you enjoy this love poem and will explore the other great works of this brilliant poet, widely quoted and represented as a visionary and independent.

The last line has always been one of my favorites ever written.

Raindrops On The Petal

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

by e. e. cummings

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

Edward Estlin Cummings was born at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School.

He received his BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard. His studies there introduced him to avant garde writers, such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. In his work, Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling and syntax, abandoning traditional techniques and structures to create a new, highly idiosyncratic means of poetic expression.

During his lifetime, Cummings received a number of honors, including an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1958, and a Ford Foundation grant.

Poem and biography information via
Photo credit: Creative Commons License Raindrops On The Petal by Pavlina Jane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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