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Spring is like a perhaps hand -- e e cummings

Guest poem sent in by Michael Andrews
(Poem #1947) Spring is like a perhaps hand
 Spring is like a perhaps hand
 (which comes carefully
 out of Nowhere)arranging
 a window,into which people look(while
 people stare
 arranging and changing placing
 carefully there a strange
 thing and a known thing here)and

 changing everything carefully

 spring is like a perhaps
 Hand in a window
 (carefully to
 and from moving New and
 Old things,while
 people stare carefully
 moving a perhaps
 fraction of flower here placing
 an inch of air there)and

 without breaking anything.
-- e e cummings
We have this neighbor who loves to garden.  Her whole front yard is planted
with bulbs and other herbaceous perennials but, for the most part, the plot
is brown in winter.  But starting in late February, as I drive past her
house, I see her stooped over the earth from time to time.

This E. E. Cummings poem so reminds me of what takes place in her garden plot
as I drive by her house each day when I leave the development.  These are
delicate changes in her little plot, none dramatic, but a plant is up one
day, flowering the next without any dramatic fanfare; a bed is barren one
day but covered with small green shoots the next.  The neighbor's hand,
arranging and rearrranging the plants for the year, in small increments,
mostly unseen (she works out of her home, is not in the garden most times I
pass, but leaves evidence of her work - a peach basket here, gardening stool
there, a pile of weeds... gone the next day) is captured precisely in this

She moves new things and old in and out of garden spots.  Not all at once,
but you notice slight movements in plant blooming.  Changes are slight but
quick.  "How did that clump get there?" I ask one day.  The clump is in
blossom the next!

'a fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there) and without
breaking anything.'

Cummings captures the joy of incremental, but inexorable growth that happens
each Spring in this small poem.  I like to think my neighbor Ruth is
Spring's hand in the window...


Mike Andrews

110 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

John Hildebidle said...

a fine poem. But surely cummings' wishes deserve to be obeyed. No caps,
no periods.

The Grammar Nazi

Anonymous said...

This is how it appears in the book I have.
Cummings was very selective with punctuation. He capitalized Spring a lot, sometimes Now.
Periods wherever he thought they should go.
I really like this poem.

Anonymous said...

By 'punctuation' I just meant grammar. Don't pay too much attention to the words I use, they'll never stand up to close scrutiny.
Also he signed his name 'E.E. Cummings' frequently.

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