Tuesday, February 13, 2007

e. e. cummings double feature

my girl's tall with hard long eyes
as she stands, with her long hard hands keeping
silence on her dress, good for sleeping
is her long hard body filled with surprise
like a white shocking wire, when she smiles
a hard long smile it sometimes makes
gaily go clean through me tickling aches,
and the weak noise of her eyes easily files
my impatience to an edge—my girl's tall
and taut, with thin legs just like a vine
that's spent all of its life on a garden-wall,
and is going to die. When we grimly go to bed
with these legs she begins to heave and twine
about me, and to kiss my face and head.


i like my body when it is with your
body. It is quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new


From & [and] (1925)

The erotic contribution to TPQ's week of love poetry comes in the form of two poems by e.e. cummings, which appear next to each other in the Selected Poems I have, and which I couldn't choose between. Cummings is well know for his re-structuring of syntax, parts of speech, and punctuation, but does tend to be known as well for his erotic verse as he should. As shown above, I believe, his style allows him to write about sensuality and sex without being, on the one hand, flowery, cliché, or saccharine, or on the other ribald, explicit, or merely clever in his implications. His language is full of energy, jostling against itself, stripped of pretense or conventions, coming to new, stimulating arrangements. It displays experimental brinksmanship, the needful thrust towards the death of sense to articulate that experience which goes beyond language.

Post your favorite erotic verse below!

(More on e.e. cummings here: www.poets.org/eecum)

1 comment:

Quotidian Poet said...

Posting another extra because I can't help myself. The odd-numbered lines in each stanza should be indented, but blogger won't let me indent (as you may have noticed) so oh well.

Derek Mahon, "Preface to a Love Poem"

This is a circling of itself and you —
A form of words, compact and compromise,
Prepared in the false dawn of the half-true
Beyond which the shapes of truth materialie.
This is a blind with sunlight filtering through.

This is a stirring in the silent hours,
As lovers do with thoughts they cannot frame
Or leave, but bring to darkness like night-flowers,
Words never choosing but the words choose them —
Birds crowing, wind whistling off pale stars.

This is a night-cry, neither here nor there,
A ghostly echo from the clamorous dead
Who cried aloud in anger and despair
Outlasting stone and bronze, but took instead
Their lost grins underground with them for ever.

This is at one remove, a substitute
For final answers; but the wise man knows
To cleave to the one living absolute
Beyond paraphrase, and shun a shrewd repose.
The words are aching in their own pursuit

To say 'I love you' out of indolence
As one might speak at sea without forethought,
Drifting inconsequently among island.
This is a way of airing my distraught
Love of your silence; you are the soul of silence.