The Scientific Indian

Poems by E. E Cummings

i-81c29d8dd06d31dc5f92e9d3d2a82677-selfportrait.jpg
Self portrait

The american poet E. E. Cummings’ poems usually have mashed-up capitalization, punctuation and are constructed on the page with words as visual art. Consider the below poems where he presents his (typical early 20th century) views on science and technology as having a rather callous effect on earth. His expression of that sentiment is a delicious mix of metaphors wonderfully painted. Very enjoyable.

O sweet spontaneous

by: E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty .how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
(but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

thou answerest

them only with

spring)

“incomparable couch of death thy rhythmic lover”! Such density of meaning!

Another poem that evokes an astonishingly detailed image in mind with so little words, like a Japanese landscape painting.

beyond the stolid iron pond
soldered with complete silence
the huge timorous hills
squat like permanent vegetables

the judging sun pinches smiling
here and there some huddling vastness
claps the fattest finally
and tags it with his supreme blue

whereat the just adjacent valley
rolls proudly his belligerent bosom
deepens his greens inflates his ochres
and in the pool doubles his winnings

Poems quoted from E. E Cummings – Selected poems, edited by Richard S Kennedy.