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POEM OF THE DAY -- "may i feel said he" by e. e. cummings

This poem just delighted me.  There's a reason why ee cummings poems hold up over time, and why ee cummings image holds up over time.  After all, it is nearly 100 years since he began writing poetry.

EE cummings is accessible today.  What I mean is that he is probably more accessible today than he was in the present tense back in 1932.  He was popular, but WAY ahead of his time, considered eccentric.  But in addition to his wonderful innovative poetry, look at his pictures.  His intellectual good looks, interesting FASHION sense, which would be considered very fashionable even today -- his hair, sideburns, etc. -- quite the intellectual rebel image.

Well, enjoy this poem.  Nearly 100 years old now; it holds up quite well.  And as usual, cummings captures the feel.  He puts you on the bed.

A tribute to love.  A humorous tribute to the human mating ritual.

A window into two loving souls.

may i feel said he

by e e cummings

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she

but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she

(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)

POEM OF THE DAY - "Venus Anadyomene" by Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud is one of the most influential French poets of the 19th century.  His unusual free-verse style of poetry has served as a primary influence to many of the great poets and artistic movements of the 20th century including French Symbolism, Surrealism, Beat counter-culture, and Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith.
His name is frequently associated with counter-cultural movements and schools of thought; this is because he himself was counter-cultural in his day.  His poetry is inspired and suggestive; his personality was caustic and unstable. Though brilliant, during his life his peers regarded him as unsophisticated, arrogant, and perverted.

We have included several of Rimbaud's poems in the eNothing blog; including "The Drunken Boat" which stands as a "Top 100 of all time" entry.  You can search for them easily.

Enjoy the ulcer.

Venus Anadyomene

by Arthur Rimbaud

As from a green zinc coffin, a woman’s
Head with brown hair heavily pomaded
Emerges slowly and stupidly from an old bathtub,
With bald patches rather badly hidden;
Then the fat gray neck, broad shoulder-blades
Sticking out; a short back which curves in and bulges;
Then the roundness of the buttocks seems to take off;
The fat under the skin appears in slabs:
The spine is a bit red; and the whole thing has a smell
Strangely horrible; you notice especially
Odd details you’d have to see with a magnifying glass…
The buttocks bear two engraved words: CLARA VENUS;
—And that whole body moves and extends its broad rump
Hideously beautiful with an ulcer on the anus.

POEM OF THE DAY -- "Skid Row Wine" by Jack Kerouac

Have you ever romanticized the ancient "bums" of yesteryear? I have.  I've placed myself in their shoes, feeling the soul, feeling the real blues.

In my mind.

Back in the day, an element of American society began to align themselves with a soulful, sad part of society, for it inspired art and was very real; not contrived or artificial - not CONSTRUCTED.  It just was.  The homeless, the bums, the broken, the lost -- these outcasts were embraced by artists and musicians and writers as a sort of inspiration.

Kerouac helped to usher in the modern era, spawning folk music and beatniks and rock and roll and punk movements, opening up society to a different way of thinking.  The hippie movement, punk, grunge...all came from his willingness to lay it out there.

Here's an ode to escape.  For some, wine may be hard to connect with; in this case I would suggest substitute the words "drinkin wine" for "smokin weed". 


by Jack Kerouac

I coulda done a lot worse than sit
in Skid Row drinkin wine

To know that nothing matters after all
To know there's no real difference
between the rich and the poor
To know that eternity is neither drunk
nor sober, to know it young
and be a poet

Coulda gone into business and ranted
And believed that God was concerned

Instead I squatted in lonesome alleys
And no one saw me, just my bottle
and what they saw of it was empty 

And I did it in the cornfields & graveyards

To know that the dead don't make noise
To know that the cornstalks talk (among
one another with raspy old arms)

Sittin in alleys diggin the neons
And watching cathedral custodians
Wring out their rags neath the church steps 

Sittin and drinkin wine
And in railyards being devine

To be a millionaire & yet to prefer
Curling up with a poor boy of tokay
In a warehouse door, facing long sunsets
On railroad fields of grass

To know that the sleepers in the river
are dreaming vain dreams, to squat
in the night and know it well

To be dark solitary eye-nerve watcher
of the world's whirling diamond

Top 100 or so Poems of All Time - "Hope is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson

This very simple poem has stood the test of time.  Emily Dickinson uses metaphor and imagery very well in transforming the abstract idea of hope (inanimate) into an animate object -- a bird.  This allows the reader to immediately conjure up an image of hope -- allowing the reader to now address hope - directly - and by doing so,

somehow place hope into context as to how it might play a role in their own lives.

Dickinson was a devout, conservative christian woman.  No doubt the poem was inspired by biblical readings and interpretations.

This poem has served as inspiration for so many people - when times are tough, and it seems as though things aren't going your way, never lose hope.

Well done!  Aspiring poets, remember the important tool of metaphor and imagery - sometimes they can help to get your message or the intent of the feeling across to the reader quite effectively.

Enjoy this masterpiece! 
Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson 
Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;         
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.

POEM OF THE DAY -- "The Blue House" by Tomas Transtromer

Today's "Poem of the Day" is the first of several celebrations of the life and poetry of Tomas Transtromer which we'll feature in our blog.   A famous and influential Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer, was born in 1931, and passed away earlier this year. A recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Including the Nobel Prize in 2011, Tranströmer has been universally
acclaimed as one of the most important European and Scandinavian writers since World War II.

Critics have praised Tranströmer’s poems for their accessibility, spirituality - and I find, an amazing ability to clearly mirror many of the inner thoughts which we all have - in our quest to find meaning in life and our place in the world around us.  I also find that each poem takes us on a familiar inner, spiritual journey.  

Tranströmer wrote of the dualities of the inner and outer worlds we each carry with us in our journey through life, the small moments in a life when a window of perception magically opens.

The following poem is one of his most famous works (there are many) and it touches on the material (the house) and the spiritual...and the connections between what was, who was, and what or who may be yet to come...and how something like a house can actually be alive...enjoy.

The Blue House

by Tomas Transtromer

It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.

It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush, from the inside.

On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishades of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.

Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..” In order to escape his destiny in time.

The house resembles a child’s drawing. A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind which the gilded frame cannot subdue.

It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.

A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.