It’s been awhile since I posted a Monday poem; the lag is probably related to a general Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul I’ve been stuck in, wherein it becomes easy to believe that everything I specially value is probably an unwanted annoyance to the rest of the world. Logical revisitation of this situation turned up the fact that this is actually my blog, so I get to do what I want with it, and bugger anybody else’s feelings on the matter. Hence: here’s a poem, because it turns out I wanted to post one.
I read this poem at my high school graduation. It is not subtle or intellectual; like a lot of Cummings’ poetry (even the poems about death) it is bright and clean and exuberant. Perfect for a seventeen year-old girl to read aloud on the verge of a whole new stage of life.
Nearly ten years later, I know more thoroughly than ever that too much striving for sophistication can deaden the soul; it can provide an excuse for not living. The refined and sublime – that’s a bus that comes once a year. You can waste a lot of time waiting for it to turn up.
So I still love this poem, and I still need it. It takes me where I need to go – into a palce where errors and failures have their own beauty, and aren’t to be feared.
May my heart always be open to little birds
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
photo by Jose Lun Aparicio