Tuesday, August 3, 2010

death i think is no parenthesis

Earlier this month we stayed in a pleasant little cottage on Peaks Island in Maine. The house had belonged to a somewhat recently deceased woman for many years and her things - her white furniture, artwork, photographs, and books - kept the place Christina's Cottage, which is what everyone called it. While the home was unmistakeably her's and left a strong impression of her as a person, we felt comfortable there and had some vague sense that we liked her from her house, her things, and the impression it left about how she lived her life.

The first night we were there, when Nikki had fallen asleep upstairs, I picked out an anthology of poems from the bookcase and went to a dogeared page. I imagined that Christina had read the poem years earlier, that it had moved her, and that she marked the page to remember it. I too was moved, thought of my wife upstairs and the woman and her children who had lived there.

I read it to Nikki in the morning. She said that it was her favorite E.E. Cummings poem, which she hadn't read in years, and that it reminded her of her sister, who passed away years earlier.

since feeling is first

E.E. Cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

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