an e.e. cummings poem for april

“Then it was spring; and in spring anything may happen. Absolutely anything.” ~ E. E. Cummings

“Bouquet in White Vase,” by E. E. Cummings (1947)

 

Spring, April, Poetry Month: a welcome trifecta of hope, beauty and possibilities. It’s a time of birdsong, thoughtful reading, invention, and above all, celebration. We celebrate and marvel at words, which, according to Wordsworth, can capture “the breathings of your heart.”

Nobody does Spring better than my favorite poet E. E. Cummings. It’s fitting that my first encounter with Cummings was his iconic “in-Just/spring” —  I remember meeting the “little lame balloonman” in high school and I haven’t been the same since.

In college, his “sweet spring” was on continuous loop as I read, read, read, wrote, wrote, wrote, and learned how to learn:

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

As a young teacher, I shared “Spring is like a perhaps hand” and “O sweet spontaneous” with my students. We discussed the inherent musicality of language, with Cummings the prime example of a poet who reveled in experimentation and innovation. Words are living, breathing entities, after all — why not make them sing?

Today I’m happy to share another of Cummings’s spring poems. I love the lyricism, playfulness, energy, and unabashed glee. No matter how many times I read it, it feels fresh and alive — as though Cummings was right here, making this poem before our very eyes.

“Yellow Tulips” by E. E. Cummings (1947)

 

when faces called flowers float out of the ground

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having —
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
–it’s april (yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving —
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
–alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living–
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
–it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

~ from E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems (1904-1962), edited by George James Firmage (Liveright, 2016)

“Chocorua Seen from a Clearing” by E. E. Cummings

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I hope you’re all having a wonderful April and Poetry Month. May your bright ideas blossom into beautiful poems!

“Flowers and Hat: Patchen Place” by E.E. Cummings (1950)

 

~ “We can never be born enough.” ~ E.E. Cummings

 

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🎨 WORLD MAKE WAY GIVEAWAY WINNER! 📕

Thanks to all for visiting the Lee Bennett Hopkins birthday post last week and commenting on his exquisite new collection World Make Way: Poems About Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The erudite, nattily attired Monsieur Random Integer Generator, who has been absent of late, and therefore unable to assist us with picking giveaway winners, made a gallant effort to cut short his around-the-world voyage to accommodate us this week — all because he considers himself quite the art connoisseur, having twice dined with Mary Cassatt, and even serving as the male model for “The Boating Party” painting (he’s a good rower).

Needless to say, he adores World Make Way, and is pleased to announce that the lucky winner is:

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ahem

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tap tap

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bread roll sushi roll drum roll

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MARY LEE HAHN at A Year of Reading!!

🎉 CONGRATULATIONS, MARY LEE!! 🎉

👏👏👏👏👏

Please send along your snail mail address to receive your book!!

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The lovely and talented Tabatha Yeatts-Lonske is hosting the Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. She is celebrating the release of her anthology about mistakes for middle schoolers, Imperfect. Gambol or dance on over to congratulate her, check out the giveaway, and view the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week!


*More of E.E. Cummings’s artwork can be seen and purchased here.

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for your support!

Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

63 thoughts on “an e.e. cummings poem for april

  1. You made my Friday! Oh, beautiful spring, when will you be sprung? There is talk of frost here in the northeast, but at jamarattigan.com, it is beautiful spring! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to hear this post cheered you up, Joanne. Spring is surely strange and slow to arrive this year. Finally seeing tiny buds on the trees, though . . .

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  2. when more than was lost has been found has been found
    and having is giving and giving is living–
    but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
    –it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!

    A perfect spring poem, and it’s finally starting to feel like spring in my neck of the woods. Thanks for sharing these beautiful words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I even read somewhere that he considered himself a painter first, and a poet second. It makes sense that he was very conscious of how words looked on the page for his poems. He created interesting word pictures with his strong visual sense.

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  3. Such a delight, to remember the first time one read a favorite poem. I love cummings, and “it’s(kiss me now)spring!” I remember spring with a happy zing. 🙂 Yesterday it hailed, but today, I again look for spring.

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    1. I don’t remember all that many first readings of poems, but Cummings was too distinctive to forget. Made a huge impression on me — I still sign my name in lower case because of him. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. His paintings are as lovely as the poems. I didn’t know that he painted, too. Thanks for that, Jama & for this poem where my love is in that line he returns to: “(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)” and also: ” –alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!” Our buds really are bursting out all over, now a ‘green scene’!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a visual and literary feast for all senses Jama. I didn’t know “in-Just/spring” and the lovely balloon 🎈 man, thanks for introducing us! I also didn’t know what an accomplished visual artist E. E. Cummings was-gorgeous art and so much in many mediums- I love the pieces you shared and had a good time visiting the link you shared! Sending you breaths of lovely “wishes” for spring! Thanks for this heartfelt post, 💗 💕 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish we had a wee video of you as a young teacher. 🙂 Like the others, I like how Cummings tucks “(kiss me now)” in his breathless exaltation of aliveness.

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  7. I always enjoyed e.e. cummings–fearlessly relinquishing rules of grammar! There is always a sense of spontaneity and joy in his poetry. Thank you for adding to my enjoyment of our elusive spring this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many New Englanders share your impatience for spring and for good reason. Slow slow slow . . . maybe this means it will be appreciated all the more when it finally arrives. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing his paintings, Julie. He was such a visually oriented person — just the way he arranged words on the page and played with syntax and punctuation. Another form of painting for him.

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  8. Such music and joy! Yes, cummings captures spring quite well. And I was surprised to see his paintings I never knew he painted with colors as well as words.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First thoughts — Wait. WHAT? e.e. cummings was a painter, too?!?!

    Next thoughts — “when faces called flowers float out of the ground” = swoon! And that last stanza…truth.

    Then, surprise of all surprises, Final thoughts — YAY!! I’m the winner!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This post makes my soul dance! And those paintings… ahhhh. And YOUR line, ‘I remember meeting the “little lame balloonman” in high school and I haven’t been the same since’- brings me enough joy to last all day. Happy Spring to you and all of your crew (w/Mr. C. at the helm, of course)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that little lame balloonman made a big impression on me! Mr. C and all the resident bears and I send big hugs and Happy Spring wishes your way too. 🙂

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  11. Jama, thanks for your springy post! “In-Just Spring” was my first introduction to E.E. Cummings, too. I just learned this year that he was also an artist AND that he loved spending time at Joy Farm at Silver Lake in NH. When I read about Tea at Joy Farm, I thought of you immediately. Friends of the Madison Library have hosted this tea in the past. Not sure about now. https://cummingsatsilverlake.com/category/joy-farm/

    I did not know the poem you share here, but I love it, especially these lines:

    “when more than was lost has been found has been found
    and having is giving and giving is living–.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the link, Joy!! Love seeing those pics of tea at Joy Farm. Looks like such a beautiful, serene setting — perfect for sipping and nibbling and pondering and dreaming. And that photo of Mt. Chocorua — Cummings’s view too. What a nice coincidence that I just happened to post that painting here.

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