Wednesday, December 28, 2011
(Black Door with Red by Georgia O’Keefe, 1887-1988,
Almost one-quarter of the approximately 770 poems published by e. e. cummings (1894-1962) are sonnets. This may surprise some readers, that this most non-traditional of poets would favor such a traditional poetic form.
As he does in all his works, however, in his sonnets e. e. cummings also transforms the formal structure, arranging the text into eccentric typography or appearance of the words, dividing the stanzas into variable patterns, and making up his own rules for the rhyme and rhythm of the lines.
But the poet does follow the rule that the sonnet takes on one idea, with a proposition and then a response.
In the sonnet below, he makes the case that only through love can we see “the beauty of the truth.”
from 73 POEMS
all worlds have halfsight,seeing either with
life’s eye(which is if things seem spirits)or
(if spirits in the guise of things appear)
death’s:any world must always half perceive.
Only whose vision can create the whole
(being forever born a foolishwise
proudhumble citizen of ecstasies
more steep than climb can time with all his years)
he’s free into the beauty of the truth;
and strolls the axis of the universe
— love. Each believing world denies, whereas
your lover(looking through both life and death)
timelessly celebrates the merciful
wonder no world deny may or believe