Back to Belfair

Sunday was one of those days I’d have probably ended up staying home if we hadn’t had guests who we wanted to take to Theler Wetlands in Belfair. In fact, snowflakes were in the air on our way there, and dark clouds obscured the sunlight.

Still, good company usually trumps poor weather, especially if it never really rains on you. And even if the weather didn’t make for great photographs, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

Heck, we were greeted at the entrance by this Audubon Warbler, a bird I’ve never managed to see before. Of course, the light level was so low and this guy was so flitty that I never did manage to get a clear shot of him, but I was so happy to just see one that it’s hard to get too disappointed by the lack of photos.

Audubon Warbler

Even the flower shots turned out rather drab, but I was still thrilled to greet the first Trillium of the year:


Though I haven’t felt like doing much more than walking Skye today, I’ve enjoyed the warmth of the sun shining through the window most of the day.

Spring has Sprung. Can Summer be far behind?

“may my heart always be open to little”

Although there’s often a spiritual note to cumming’s poems, that note becomes much louder in the last poems in E.E. Cummings: Collected Poems, beginning, perhaps, with this one:


Jehovah buried,Satan dead,
do fearers worship Much and Quick;
badness not being felt as bad,
itself thinks goodness what is meek;
obey says toc,submit says tic,
Eternity’s a Five Year Plan:
if Joy with Pain shall hang in hock
who dares to call himself a man?

go dreamless knaves on Shadows fed,
your Harry’s Tom,your Tom is Dick;
while Gadgets murder squawk and add,
the cult of Same is all the chic;
by instruments,both span and spic,
are justly measured Spic and Span:
to kiss the mike if Jew turn kike
who dares to call himself a man?

loudly for Truth have liars pled,
their heels for Freedom slaves will click;
where Boobs are holy,poets mad,
illustrious punks of Progress shriek;
when Souls are outlawed,Hearts are sick,
Hearts being sick,Minds nothing can:
if Hate’s a game and Love’s a fuck
who dares to call himself a man?

King Christ,this world is all aleak;
and lifepreservers there are none:
and waves which only He may walk
Who dares to call Himself a man.

Although I wouldn’t expect to hear this in any of the churches I’ve attended, few, far-far-between, it still has a sermon-LIKE ring to it. I suppose you might argue that it’s a typical sermon calling sinners back to the TRUE faith, but I don’t think this is the true FAITH most churches declare. In fact, it seems to be attacking the hypocrisy of most Sunday-Only-Christians, turned to the worship of “Much and Quick,” “Eternity’s A Five Year Plan,” become “dreamless knaves on “Shadows fed.”

Our ARK is beginning to leak, and this time King Christ isn’t here to offer “life preservers” because “Boobs are holy,” “poets mad.”

Now, if that were the best religious poem in the section, I wouldn’t be considering ordering a new copy of E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962, because it turns out the Collected Poems I bought in ’60 or ’61 ends with poems written in 1938 or so. No, the notes introduced in


may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

obviously have much more appeal to me, NOW, though, unremarkably, perhaps, I made no note of it when I read it in college. After all, how could He Who Talks to Small Birds not love a poem with a first stanza like that? It’s obvious i’ve got to see what he wrote in the last twenty five years of his life. The Complete Poems contains twice as many poems as this Collected Poems.

Mini “vacation”

This was a tough weekend for me. Late Friday I came down with what appeared to be the flu that was not prevented by this year’s flu vaccine. It just blew me away. I didn’t do anything but sleep for three days. Several times it occurred to me that I should probably go the hospital. When I finally got in to see my doctor on Monday, he said I probably should have done exactly that.

X-rays revealed that I’m suffering from pneumonia. The doctor was concerned enough that he made an appointment for me Tuesday morning to make sure that I was getting better. Since I’m home typing this, I must be making some positive progress, but that seems like a real relative term.

Anyway, I’m sure not going to be out and about shooting pictures this week. And at the moment i just don’t feel well enough to read poetry, so postings may be rare this week.

UPDATE 3/27/08

I managed to take Skye on his twenty minute walk today in very brisk weather, though we walked a little slower than usual. I managed to read 60+ pages of poetry and write a little commentary. Though I’ll be on medicine for nearly two more weeks, I think I’m well on my way to recovery.

Thank you for all your good wishes, here and at Facebook. I thought by closing comments I might avoid that, but will admit that it still made me feel good to get all those good wishes.

Love’s “Unknownness”

At times cummings almost seems obsessed with love, particularly with sex, but, in the last part of Collected Poems there seems to be a subtle shift in many of these love poems, not that he wasn’t still writing poems devoted to sex.

Strangely, I marked these two poems both when I first read them in college and this time as I read them, though i can’t imagine that I had similar ideas about love at such different points in my life. Of course, this first one with its emphasis on “unknownness,” seems to be universally true, at least among men.


love’s function is to fabricate unknownness

(known being wishless;but love,all of wishing)
though life’s lived wrongsideout,sameness chokes oneness
truth is confused with fact,fish boast of fishing

and men are caught by worms(love may not care
if time totters,light droops,all measures bend
nor marvel if a thought should weigh a star
—dreads dying least;and less,that death should end)

how lucky lovers are)whose selves abide
under whatever shall discovered be)
whose ignorant each breathing dares to hide
more than most fabulous wisdom fears to see

(who laugh and cry)who dream,create and kill
while the whole moves;and every part stands still:

This “unknownness” of love lends itself particularly well to cummings’ poetic style, its enjambment, it’s Metaphysical conceits and contradictions. Who could argue that love is “all of wishing,” that “truth is” quite often “confused with fact?” Men may boast of their prowess with women, but more often than not it’s they that end up caught “by worms.” Often it’s the mystery of the other, of the lover, the constant sense of discovery that seems to drive love, at least romantic love.

I guess it makes sense if we know so little about this love that is so precious to us that we need to be “More careful” of it “Than of anything:”


be of love(a little)
More careful
Than of everything
guard her perhaps only

A trifle less
(merely beyond how very)
closely than
Nothing, remembers love by frequent

Her least never with most
memory) give entirely each
Forever its freedom

(Dare until a flower,
understanding sizelessly sunlight
Open what thousandth why and
discover laughing)

Although it’s the first stanza that seems to be the most quoted, the most interesting juxtaposition of words to me is the narrator’s admonition that we should guard it “a trifle less” “closely than” … “Nothing.” Doesn’t this suggest that it’s actually impossible to “guard” love at all, precisely because we must “give entirely each/ Forever its freedom?”