Friday, April 29, 2011

E. E. Cummings's "i carry your heart with me"

What's this I hear about a wedding? It seems like the world, in a desperate need for something happy, has latched on to the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. That said, it is refreshing to see a young couple who are (for all appearances) in love and happy for the start of their new life together. This wedding also provides the perfect excuse to feature one of E. E. Cummings's best love poems.

"i carry your heart with me"
by E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                         i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

As my AP English teacher once mused, Cummings's is a wonderful love poet, and his writing peculiarities, such as unusual spacing, contribute to the meaning and reading of the poem. Here, the lack of spaces before the parenthetical phrases don't seem like mere affectations. Instead, they imply the giddiness of love as well as the melding of two people as one. The absence of most punctuation (there are no periods, and only a few semicolons and commas) also mimic the headiness of a new romance, where everything seems to run together and all thoughts and sentences focus on the object of your affection.