Spring in the air

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I just felt in the mood for a little modern poetry today, and I remembered my senior year of high school, when I took Advanced Placement Logic & Composition. We focused on personal essays and narratives for the first half of the year, and by spring, everyone was pretty much "in" college, so the teacher passed out sheets of poetry, saying "it's spring and love is in the air, so we're going to be reading some romantic poetry."

It just so happened that the boy who had my heart for the last three years of high school transferred into my AP Logic & Composition class in the second semester, so love truly was in the air for me. So perfect was it when the boy I liked volunteered to read all the poems I liked best -- a coincidence, I'm sure, but maybe it was something more? (says 18-year-old me)


Here are some of the poems (all e.e. cummings and Pablo Neruda, thank you Ms. Refkin), the first one probably being my favorite poem ever:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

- e.e. cummings

Ode to Clothes

Every morning you wait,
clothes, over a chair,
to fill yourself with
my vanity, my love,
my hope, my body.
Barely
risen from sleep,
I relinquish the water,
enter your sleeves,
my legs look for
the hollows of your legs,
and so embraced
by your indefatigable faithfulness
I rise, to tread the grass,
enter poetry,
consider through the windows,
the things,
the men, the women,
the deeds and the fights
go on forming me,
go on making me face things
working my hands,
opening my eyes,
using my mouth,
and so,
clothes,
I too go forming you,
extending your elbows,
snapping your threads,
and so your life expands
in the image of my life.
In the wind
you billow and snap
as if you were my soul,
at bad times
you cling
to my bones,
vacant, for the night,
darkness, sleep
populate with their phantoms
your wings and mine.
I wonder
if one day
a bullet
from the enemy
will leave you stained with my blood
and then
you will die with me
or one day
not quite
so dramatic
but simple,
you will fall ill,
clothes,
with me,
grow old
with me, with my body
and joined
we will enter
the earth.
Because of this
each day
I greet you
with reverence and then
you embrace me and I forget you,
because we are one
and we will go on
facing the wind, in the night,
the streets or the fight,
a single body,
one day, one day, some day, still.


- Pablo Neruda

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
not 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(i carry it in my heart)

- e.e. cummings


Don't Go Far Off

Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.


Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.


Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,


because in that moment you'll have gone so far
I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

- Pablo Neruda

I loved that last semester of high school and the freedom and breathing room we were given, even in our studies. I felt that the past 12+ years of schooling had built a solid foundation in my understanding of the English language and literature, and now it was time to get our hands wet and play with style. It was revolutionary, to me, and I'll never forget it.

But T.S. Eliot ... that's a man whose work I can't make heads or tails of!

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