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A Poem for a Thursday #6


I mentioned in my last post that I was reading The G.I.'s: The Americans in Britain, 1942-1945. When I was looking for a poem for today's post I started wondering about the poets who were writing during WWII. E.E. Cummings was an American poet who wrote almost 3,000 poems. He used unusual syntax and a lot of lower-case spelling. Norman Friedman, who wrote a book about Cummings, said that Cummings' innovations "are best understood as various ways of stripping the film of familiarity from language in order to strip the film of familiarity from the world. Transform the word, he seems to have felt, and you are on the way to transforming the world." Cummings was of fighting age during WWI.  He did write poetry during WWII. The poem I am using here was written in July 1943 and has a feeling of dread about it that must have been common at the time.

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
 and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend:  blow space to time)
--when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
--whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:  blow death to was)
--all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live

what if a much of a which

e.e. cummings

A Peaceful Afternoon



It is late Tuesday afternoon and pouring down rain outside. I have a fresh cup of tea by my side and a cheesy ham and potato soup in the crockpot. My husband is sitting on the couch reading the news and feeling a little bored which I view as a good sign. Boredom is an indication he is getting better. My daughter is home from school with a cold and she has dragged her brother downstairs to play video games with her. Not all of that sounds good--the cold, my husband's accident-but somehow it is all contributing to a peaceful afternoon. I have to go out again later but for now, I am just going to revel in the peace and quiet.

I am currently reading The G.I.'s: The Americans in Britain, 1942-1945 by Norman Longmate. I have an ongoing interest in life during WWII. Most of the books I have read have been about life on the Home Front in Britain. This is a fascinating account of the arrival of the Americans in Britain and how the two countries reacted to one another. Two million American soldiers were stationed in Britain during the war and the two countries learned a lot from each other. I find the differences in the cultures absolutely fascinating. The book is full of reminiscences and first-hand accounts from the G.I.'s and the  British people who encountered them. I am about halfway through it right now and highly recommend it. I have also read How We Lived Then by Longmate which is just as interesting.

I ordered a couple of books at the beginning of the month, I always do, and I just got a notification that one book is no longer available and my money is being refunded. Obviously, that means I need to buy another book to replace it. At least books are cheaper than the perfect wool dress coat for under $200.00 that I am currently looking for. It can't be black, it needs to be knee length, and it has to look modern and fun while still being classic. I don't ask too much, do I? Maybe I should just go back to buying books.

Isn't the teapot in the photo pretty? A friend showed up with a gift bag full of goodies for me--the teapot and cups, chocolate, cocoa mix, cookies, tea, and an entire flourless chocolate cake. She said she knew my husband was the one who was hurt but she thought I needed some comfort too. It was so sweet of her. I did share the cake with my family but the chocolate bar I hid away and I don't intend to share it though I should probably eat it soon before someone finds my hiding place.

We might get snow on Thursday. Maybe it will be another afternoon of books, tea, chocolate, and soup. I wouldn't mind that at all.


A Poem for a Thursday #5

Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash
Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and playwright. She was appointed Britain's Poet Laureate in May of 2009. In describing her own writing she says she "likes to use simple words, but in a complicated way."  Here is a poem about Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife, to whom he willed his second best bed.

"Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed...'
(from Shakespeare's will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles,, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
where he could dive for pearls. My lover's words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love -
I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
as he held me upon that next best bed.

Anne Hathaway
Carol Ann Duffy