E. E. Cummings was born Edward Estlin Cummings in 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and died in North Conway, N.H., in 1962. With a B.A. degree from Harvard in 1915 he delivered the Commencement Address that year, titled “The New Art.” A year later he earned an M.A. degree for English and Classical Studies, also from Harvard.
Cummings was a fine artist, playwright and novelist. He studied art in Paris following World War I and he adopted a cubist style in his artwork and considered himself as much a painter as a poet, spending much of the day painting and much of the night writing. During his lifetime Cummings wrote over 900 poems, two novels, four plays, and had at least a half dozen showings of his artwork. Read more about his life here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/e-e-cummings
Cummings had a unique style of writing which is very visual. His typographical independence was an experiment in punctuation, spelling and rule-breaking with a style that forces a certain rhythm into the poem when read aloud. His language is simple and his poems become fun and playful.
His poem selected for this post today is a deep and profound love poem and is easily understood. It makes an excellent love song when set to music. The outstanding guitarist, Michael Hedges, set “i carry your heart” to music on his “Taproot” album. Hedges himself sings the lead, but the backing vocals are sung by David Crosby and Graham Nash. Below is a YouTube video link of Michael Hedges singing the song.
i carry your heart with me – E. E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me
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)
no 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)