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QUINTESSENCE

Gladly Beyond

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully , suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands


I am revisiting e.e. cummings today, and this poem I quoted a few lines from a year ago, specifically then the opening stanza. The language is what holds me - unexpected phrases such as "the voice of your eyes," the chiseled core of "the power of your intense fragility," and the pang, the lonely yearning of "your eyes have their silence." How does someone, anyone, ever know language and the beloved sufficiently to paint the mystery so fully?

I think it perhaps this aspect of the poet that singes most deeply: this ability to encapsulate our longing, our disoriented suffering, the single note bittersweet rhapsodies. Human emotion is a melange of spices, a stew, and a salt. It is the poet who allows us to make a meal of tart and unsettling experience. The poet who labels the most heart-stirring wine, Reserve.
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