by god i want above fourteenth

E. E. Cummings circa 1912

unbeing dead is not being alive

e. e. cummings

Sonnets – Realities
Tulips and Chimneys

 
by e. e. cummings
 
 
the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church’s protestant blessings
daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things—
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
…. the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy
 
 
 
The sonnet above is the very first sonnet in Cummings  first book of poetry Tulips and Chimneys published in 1923.   There are 87 poems that precede it in the volume, none of them sonnets.  Several have important historical significance and add textural context to Cummings as a writer and as a human being, but in my opinion there isn’t a one I would choose to read again and again, they are all rather forgettable and average.   Its not that he didn’t write some great poetry during those years, it was that he was still too firmly under the overhang of Cambridge and the shadow of his father’s opinions to be bold enough to try and publish his best work.  
 
Cummings first book of poetry is not that great.  It followed his avante garde novel based on his war time experience in France called The Enormous Room which had been published in 1922 while Cummings was traveling in Europe.  A fictional yet autobiographical experimental novel that was part confession, part metaphor for Cummings mind, the novel discussed the absurdity of aspects of the war and his confinement with 30 other men all under suspicion for one crime or another by French authorities.   Cummings father had received a cable oddly coinciding with the start of his imprisonment in which it wrongly portrayed Cummings as lost at sea, rather than sitting for months awaiting arraignment in La Ferte-Maiche and it took several months to clear that up, and in doing so, drew Cummings father closer to his son again. 
 
The reviews of The Enormous Room were positive, as there was a audience for satirical writing by intellectuals criticizing the war and it awarded Cummings both some well needed cash and the opportunity to publish the year later his poetry.  It also helped heal up the relationship with his father, which had become fractured in previous years when Cummings was coming of age.  His father gave Cummings positive feedback and encouragement as a writer and as an artist, something that had been sorely lacking when he first graduated from Harvard.  Cummings wartime experience had reset the bonds between them.  The critical success of the novel gave credibility to Cummings passions that he could be successful as an artist, a writer. 
 
Cummings was shocked when he finally received his first printed copy of The Enormous Room.  The editor had rearranged the order of some of the book, had replaced some of Cummings experimental word choices and illogical grammar, that was intentionally unconventional, had translated some of the French portions into English and generally made a mess of it in the first printing in Cumming’s eyes.   Of course readers and critics were not aware of it and generally gave it favorable reviews.    However, his experience with his publisher on his first printing of his first book caused Cummings to become extremely autocratic in the publishing process from there forward, demanding to review 7, 8 or 9 drafts, before agreeing to the final typeset copy as he was extremely distrustful of well meaning typesetters screwing up his poetry. 
 
There are several things that jump out at me in Cummings first volume of poetry.  He has already formulated the basis of his style that was to remain throughout his lifetime.  His poetry looks commonplace today with irregular line spacing, made up words and odd use of punctuation, but all of those things were not common or accepted in 1919 – 1922 when he did the bulk of the writing for the manuscript.  Cummings first book is less about the finished poems and more about establishing the process and the acceptance of his process.  Cummings was testing the waters to see if the public and critics were ready to embrace linguistic gymnastics in the style that Cummings wanted to write.   Tulips and Chimneys was a success because it proved to himself and his father that Cummings was a writer who could get paid, at least enough to scratch out the bohemian lifestyle in Greenwich village that he preferred over the comfort of Cambridge which he scorned. 
 
There could not be a greater contrast between these two sonnets on today’s blog, separated by only a couple of pages in the book.   Cummings sonnets are unconventional but retain aspects of convention.  Cummings did not title his sonnets as a rule in his books, he numbered them, just like every influential Sonneteer who had preceded him.   The sonnet below has the vestiges of the joy that Cummings channeled into some of his best poetry.  It is a simple, playful, defiant embrace of the city that he would love and reside in for the remainder of his life.
 

 

Sonnets – Realities
Tulips and Chimneys

V

 
by e. e. cummings
 
by god I want above fourteenth
 
fifth’s deep purring biceps,the mystic screech
of Broadway,the trivial stink of rich
 
frail firm asinine life
                                        (I pant
 
for what’s below.        the singer.   Wall.    i want
the perpendicular lips the insane teeth
the vertical grin
 
                                         give me Square in spring,
the little barbarous Greenwich perfumed fake
 
And most.the futile fooling labyrinth
where noisy colours stroll….and the Baboon
 
siniggering insipidities while.  I sit,sipping
singular anisettes as.       One opaque
big girl jiggles thickly hips to the kanoon
 
but Hassan chuckles seeing the Greeks breathe!
 

 

love’s a universe beyond obey

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, across from which E. E. Cummings grew up

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)….

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why men breathe—
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

e. e. cummings (Excerpt from my father moved through dooms of love), written after Edward Cummings death in an automobile accident in 1926.

nothing false and possible is love

by e. e. cummings

Nothing false and possible is love
(who’s imagined, therefore is limitless)
love’s to giving as to keeping’s give;
as yes is to if, love is to yes

must’s a schoolroom in the month of may:
life’s the deathboard where all now turns when
(love’s a universe beyond obey
or command,reality or un-)

proudly depths above why’s first because
(faith’s last doubt and humbly heights below)
kneeling, we-true lovers-pray that us
will ourselves continue to outgrow

all whose mosts if you have known and i’ve
only we our least begin to guess


Edward Estlin Cummings was destined to be a poet. He was conceived and grew up in a house across the street from where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had lived, poetry part of the pageantry of his youth, but more importantly he wanted to please his mother, who wanted nothing else for her son than to become a poet. Cummings began writing a poem a day from the time he was six years old, learning an important lesson, that to become a writer you have to write, even if most of what you write is not very good. What’s interesting to me is how poets become poets, and not just writers, particularly poets that we look back on that influenced the trajectory of poetry in the 20th century. How did Estlin become a poet, preferring his middle name over his first name Edward, the mantle of wearing the same name as his father a bit to much to carry.

Several important factors steered him in a poetic direction, his father’s influence as a Unitarian minister and prominent reformer and proponent of social justice, seeped into his soul listening to his father’s sermon’s each Sunday, combined with the permanent chip on his shoulder stemming from his rather smallish physique and his preferred self stylized temperament as the struggling artist. When you then stir in a Harvard education in the classics with his experience during World War I, when he was imprisoned on charges of desertion, it set the stage for a young, slightly smug, immature writer to develop into the Greenwich village poet we admire today. Although Cummings first artistic commission occurred shortly after he graduated from College, a friend asking him to write a poem in honor of his engagement, in which he paid Cummings the handsome sum of $1,000 in 1916, enough to sort of establish the young Cummings as a man of independence from his father, it was not until 1922, that Cummings career as a poet, writer and playwright would take root.

But to understand Cummings maturity as a poet, one has to balance both how he benefited and scorned the bubble that was the posh and coddled society of Cambridge from whence he came. Cummings best poetry is relatively simple with a whiff of satire, or even scorn, taking nothing much seriously, except for the very seriousness of his favorite topic – love. Cummings seemed to never have escaped the puritan expectations that goes with being a minister’s son and yet that very yoke seemed to be the thing he needed most to eventually put to paper some of the most beautiful love poems of the past 100 years. The fact that sex was not a topic of conversation in the Cummings household growing up maybe why he was more than a bit fixated on it as an adult. However, Cummings faith and his father’s influence never left him and so in Cummings creativity, the playfulness of language becomes the smokescreen to purify the passion that still clearly rests beneath the surface of his best work. Cummings unconventional use of language was a way to make acceptable even the most graphic of his emotions. Though Cummings would live a most unconventional, conventional life, fathering his only child, a daughter, while having an affair with his best friend’s wife, his best love poems convey the unconditional love that he found compelling in his faith and yet a bit elusive in his real life as a young man, at least until he met Marion Morehouse.


it is at moments after i have dreamed

by e. e. cummings

It is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when(being fool to fancy)i have deemed
with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest

– turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep

Cold And Getting Colder

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Elliot

Cold and Getting Colder

by T. A. Fry

Why listen to conventions drab advice?
The crowd that quietly eats their porridge
without cream, their modest life should suffice
but cloisters dreams in dusty storage. 

It’s much more interesting to wade
into the fray, to fight and dance away
the night, mine to lose, mine to choose
what and who’s to be obeyed.

Take my hand, together, if we can,
we’ll climb solo or on belay,
hearts directing what to say,
finding where and when to plan.

Shall I kneel before the altar
to pray for sins, lucid or not,
lose or win, the past forgot,
a future, mine to steal or redesign, should I falter.

Why listen to conventions drab advice?
Eyes closed I clearly see brilliant colors
floating ageless above the others
love emanating from a rosy grace.

Gingerly I wade into deeper waters.
It’s cold and getting colder.
There’s no way around it
I’m getting bolder.


Death Is A Deadline

by T. A. Fry

Where were you born?  What have you farrowed
Before the world turned towards misshapen things?
What will you plant, fertilize and harrow,
A farm to be proud,  fit for wise kings?
Sow ancient love in concentric rings,
Hoe blood bound soil, beneath pregnant clouds.
Cultivate laughter, while Gaia’s soul sings,
Black dirt on tan girls, their spirit’s endowed
By a jubilant song, defiantly loud,
All dancing beneath a bright harvest moon,
Wind calling their names from a nearby wood.
Rise to your journey and go there soon!
Bask in the sunshine, drink finest wine.
If death is a deadline, live this lifetime.

 

It Is The Singular Gift

Lisel Mueller (1924 – 2020)

Poetry, for me, is the answer to, ‘How does one stay sane when private lives are being ransacked by public events?’ It’s something that hangs over your head all the time.

Lisel Mueller

Hope

by Lisel Mueller

It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.

Why We Tell Stories
(Excerpt)

2
 

by Lisel Mueller

We sat by the fire in our caves,
and because we were poor, we made up a tale
about a treasure mountain
that would open only for us

and because we were always defeated,
we invented impossible riddles
only we could solve,
monsters only we could kill,
women who could love no one else
and because we had survived
sisters and brothers, daughters and sons,
we discovered bones that rose
from the dark earth and sang
as white birds in the trees

 
3
 

Because the story of our life
becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story
but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice

Because grandmothers looking like spiders
want to enchant the children
and grandfathers need to convince us
what happened happened because of them

and though we listen only
haphazardly, with one ear,
we will begin our story
with the word and

What I Can I Give

Giovanni di Paolo’s Adoration of the Magi, circa 1460.

 

In The Bleak Midwinter

By Christina Rossetti
 
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
 
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
 
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
 
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
 
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.


I Syng Of A Maiden

Middle English original (1400s)

I syng of a mayden
That is makeles,
king of alle kinges
to here sone che chees.

He cam also stille
Ther his moder was
As dew in Aprylle,
That fallyt on the gras.

He cam also stille
To his modres bowr
As dew in Aprylle,
That falleth on the flowr.

He cam also stille
Ther his moder lay
As dew in Aprylle,
That falleth on the spray.

Moder & mayden
Was nevere noon but she:
Well may swich a lady
Godes moder be.

Modern English version

I sing of a maiden
That is matchless,
King of all kings
For her son she chose.

He came as still
Where his mother was
As dew in April
That falls on the grass.

He came as still
To his mother’s bower
As dew in April
That falls on the flower.

He came as still
Where his mother lay
As dew in April
That falls on the spray.

Mother and maiden
There was never, ever one but she;
Well may such a lady
God’s mother be.

One Must Have A Mind Of Winter

Minnesota Winter

The Snow Man

Wallace Stevens – 1879-1955

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


Beyond the Red River

By Thomas McGrath (1916 – 1990)
 
The birds have flown their summer skies to the south,
And the flower-money is drying in the banks of bent grass
Which the bumble bee has abandoned. We wait for a winter lion,
Body of ice-crystals and sombrero of dead leaves.
 
A month ago, from the salt engines of the sea,
A machinery of early storms rolled toward the holiday houses
Where summer still dozed in the pool-side chairs, sipping
An aging whiskey of distances and departures.
 
Now the long freight of autumn goes smoking out of the land.
My possibles are all packed up, but still I do not leave.
I am happy enough here, where Dakota drifts wild in the universe,
Where the prairie is starting to shake in the surf of the winter dark.
 
 

It Is Like A Memory Lost

Sonnet 97: How like a winter hath my absence been

By William Shakespeare
 
 
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
 
 

Winter Sunrise

by Robert Laurence Binyon

It is early morning within this room; without,
Dark and damp; without and within, stillness
Waiting for day: not a sound but a listening air.

Yellow jasmine, delicate on stiff branches
Stands in a Tuscan pot to delight the eye
In spare December’s patient nakedness.

Suddenly, softly, as if at a breath breathed
On the pale wall, a magical apparition,

The shadow of the jasmine, branch and blossom!

It was not there, it is there, in a perfect image;
And all is changed. It is like a memory lost
Returning without a reason into the mind.

Outside is Silence

First Snow at the farm in 2021

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll

First Snow

by Ted Kooser (1939 – 

The old black dog comes in one evening
with the first few snowflakes on his back
and falls asleep, throwing his bad leg out
at our excitement. This is the night
when one of us gets to say, as if it were news,
that no two snowflakes are ever alike;
the night when each of us remembers something
snowier. The kitchen is a kindergarten
steamy with stories. The dog gets stiffly up
and limps away, seeking a quiet spot
at the heart of the house. Outside,
in silence, with diamonds in his fur,
the winter night curls round the legs of the trees,
sleepily blinking snowflakes from his lashe


Flying at Night

by Ted Kooser 

 

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like
his.

O Beautiful and Wise

T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

As poetry is the highest speech of man, it can not only accept and contain, but in the end express best everything in the world, or in himself, that he discovers. It will absorb and transmute, as it always has done, and glorify, all that we can know. This has always been, and always will be, poetry’s office.

Conrad Aiken

Bread and Music

by Conrad Aiken  (1889 – 1973)

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, belovèd,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always,—
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.


I wonder what archivists and critics of the future will do with all the electronic communication a person creates over a life time compared to when people wrote physical letters?   Will people take the time to collect a famous artists Instagram posts, emails, Face-book musings, texts and blog posts or will the electronic clutter of one’s life simply fade into obscurity?   What happens when someone stops paying WordPress for the privilege of being on the web?   I suppose Fourteen Lines gets taken down and goes into the ether from which it came is the answer.   The reason I ponder this question is because for poets of the era of Aiken and Eliot, their personal correspondence became another subject matter for publication once they became established as literary icons.   I doubt the young Aiken and Eliot gave much thought to it when they wrote letters to each other.   Here’s a couple of examples from the book of published letters of Eliot’s on the occasion of his 100th birthday. The first quote is before Eliot’s success as a poet when his confidence was thin and the second a few year’s later.  Pound is already living in London, where both Eliot and Aiken would spend considerable time in their careers. In 1914, Eliot has just arrived in London. 

There is a possibility of dining at a Chinese restaurant Monday with Yeats, – and the Pounds. Pound has been on n’est pas plus aimable, and is going to print ”Prufrock” in Poetry and pay me for it. He wants me to bring out a Vol. after the War. The devil of it is that I have done nothing good since J. A [ lfred ] P [ rufrock ] and writhe in impotence. . . . I think now that all my good stuff was done before I had begun to worry – three years ago. . . .

T. S. Eliot to Conrad Aiken,  September 30, 1914

Money was always a challenge for Eliot and so he went to work as a banker for Loyd’s Bank in London a few years later.  The position offered financial stability, social status in dating, and an opportunity to remain somewhat aloof from the literary world or at least engage it when he chose to engage it. 

They are decided now. I am staying in the bank. . . . The work gives opportunity for initiative and is work for which they wish men of higher education. It will give much more responsibility, and therefore more freedom. . . .

As it is, I occupy rather a privileged position. I am out of the intrigues and personal hatreds of journalism, and everyone respects me for working in a bank. My social position is quite as good as it would be as editor of a paper. I only write what I want to – now – and everyone knows that anything I do write is good. I can influence London opinion and English literature in a better way. I am known to be disinterested. Even through the Egoist I am getting to be looked up to by people who are far better known to the general public than I. There is a small and select public which regards me as the best living critic, as well as the best living poet, in England. . . . I really think that I have far more influence on English letters than any other American has ever had, unless it be Henry James. I know a great many people, but there are many more who would like to know me, and I can remain isolated and detached.

T. S. Eliot to his Mother March 29, 1919

I wonder what Eliot, Aiken, cummings and Pound would make of the current world of poetry?   Would they flourish and push new boundaries or would they be adrift? As for the two poems today, they could not be more different, the contrast is stark.  I think Eliot’s bleak depiction and misogynist tendencies would not get him published in Poetry today and I share it just because it is so strikingly odd a poem.  Do you have favorite poets that you find there are poems you hate and poems you like?  What’s your favorite Eliot poem(s)?


The Love Song of St. Sebastian

 
by T. S. Eliot
 
I would come in a shirt of hair
I would come with a lamp in the night
And sit at the foot of your stair;
I would flog myself until I bled,
And after hour on hour of prayer
And torture and delight
Until my blood should ring the lamp
And glisten in the light;
I should arise your neophyte
And then put out the light
To follow where you lead,
To follow where your feet are white
In the darkness toward your bed
And where your gown is white
And against your gown your braided hair.
Then you would take me in
Because I was hideous in your sight
You would take me in without shame
Because I should be dead
And when the morning came
Between your breasts should lie my head.

 

I would come with a towel in my hand
And bend your head beneath my knees;
Your ears curl back in a certain way
Like no one’s else in all the world.
When all the world shall melt in the sun,
Melt or freeze,
I shall remember how your ears were curled.
I should for a moment linger
And follow the curve with my finger
And your head beneath my knees—
I think that at last you would understand.
There would be nothing more to say.
You would love me because I should have strangled you
And because of my infamy;
And I should love you the more because I had mangled you
And because you were no longer beautiful
To anyone but me

In The Forest Of The Mind

Conrad Aiken (1889 – 1973)

All lovely things will have an ending, all lovely things will fade and die; and youth, that’s now so bravely spending, Will beg a penny by and by.

Conrad Aiken

The Ego 

by Conrad Aiken

Ego! Ego! Burning Blind
in the forest of the mind
what immortal alchemy
or what immortal chemistry
dared shape they fearful symmetry
dared dream they fearful liberty
and in the eye
conceived the I
and in the “Aye”
a Me!


I am enough years into this project that I can no longer remember exactly what poems I have shared from each poet. My process has evolved and I tend to stockpile poems in drafts as I stumble across them in my regular reading of poetry and then depending on my whimsy, use an old draft to start a new post. If its a poet that I have shared before, I go back and re-read those posts and make sure I am not regurgitating the same poems or same thoughts. In going through that process on this post, I laughed, because there must be something in my sub-conscious that draws me to Conrad Aiken in December.

Conrad Aiken’s life was turned upside down when he was 11 and his Father and Mother died as a result of domestic violence, his father murdering his Mother and then dying by suicide. He went on to live with a great, great Aunt in Massachusetts, who would change his life by giving him access to elite private schools and entry into Harvard. He was classmates and friends with T. S. Elliot and e. e. cummings. After Harvard he spent equal time in London and the U.S. for the next 30 years working for various journals as a correspondent and writing poetry, short stories, novels and literary criticism. Aiken’s writing influenced the trajectory of theories of consciousness and psychoanalysis. His greatest contribution, beyond his own writing, was possibly his work to anthologize and promote Emily Dickinson’s poetry, particularly outside the United States, helping to introduce her to readers around the world.

Aiken wrote poetry in a myriad of styles, so to only present his lyric poetry is a bit misleading. He wrote early in his career a series of what he called “symphonies”, poetry that he felt could be appreciated at multiple levels, like a bass clef and treble clef on a sheet of music. Aiken is one of those poets I tend to forget about and then when I stumble across him again I am amazed how fresh and interesting I find his work. Wouldn’t it have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall at a Harvard dining hall listening to Elliot, cummings and Aiken forge their way into the world as brash young men talking smart? It suggests that genius often needs other great minds to find their voice in pursuit of unique ideas. Friendship and fellowship with other creative and disruptive forces gives artists confidence that as a creative spirit we are not on an island by ourselves, and that creativity is limitless in its acceptance of eccentric minds because that very eccentricity often mirrors the commonness of our human condition while the artist ventures off into new territory, making all of us marching to our own tune feel less alone.


Six Sonnets

by Conrad Aiken

III

Think, love, how when a starry night of frost
Is ended, and the small pale winter sun
Shines on the garden trellis, ice-embossed,
And the stiff frozen flower-stalks, every one;
And turns their fine embroideries of ice
Into a loosening silver, skein by skein,
Warming cold leaves and stones, till, in a trice,
The garden smiles, and breathes, and lives again;
And further think, how the poor frozen snail
Creeps out with trembling horns to feel that heat,
And thaws the snowy mildew from his mail,
And stretches with all his length from his retreat:
Will he not praise, with his whole heart, the sun?
Then think, at last, I too am such an one?