e.e. cummings was ‘groovy’ back in the day

In the 1970s my peers and I thought e.e. cummings was a ‘very groovy poet’. In later years, when I was in a used bookstore I came upon a volume of his complete poetry. I plopped right down on the floor to browse. It was then that I discovered that in my prior ‘gidget-y life’ I had been shielded from some of his more earthy poetry. But when I was in high school and college we didn’t read those. Instead, we read his poems that had inside out phrases (such as ‘up so floating many bells done’) and other phrases such as ‘i thank god someone is crazy enough to give me a daisy’—and not always rhyming, either. And yes, I know that God isn’t capitalized. Cummings capitalized nothing. It was his hallmark. But his little poems pleased my peace loving, Kumbayah soul.

Do you know what I mean by the Kumbayah years? It was a time (at least in the U.S.) when peace was the goal of the young and young adults. We thought if we all held hands and hoped and prayed that it would be enough to end war, pollution, bigotry, and every other evil in the world. It was a big overly simplistic. Yet the starry eyed optimism of those times really did suit me. It was a continuation of the views of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr, and even the early space program and Earth Day. Naive? Yes. But beautiful? Also yes.

This morning I am a bit discouraged. I know it will pass. But I am wistful right now for those starry eyed times. I always regain my footing and become starry-eyed. A prayer and a walk will do wonders. I came across part of an e.e. cummings poem that reminded me of why I loved his poems. {I am too lazy right now to look up which poem this is from. I have a book of Positive Quotations, and it is in there}. So here is the quote that lifted my chin a bit today šŸ™‚

“i thank you god for this most amazing day;
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite which is yes”.–

I know. His poems are tangled and make little sense and a lot of sense all at once. I needed a change of pace. I like the sound of “leaping greenly spirits of trees” and “a blue true dream of sky”….I had an English teacher in high school that assigned us the task of writing a poem in cummings’ style. I had to write the poem with the words in the right order and then shift everything around. It paled by comparison to cummings’ poetry. We each have our own style. I am far better as the artists say “sticking to my own medium”. I am better with charcoal than water color.

My writing voice is at times disorganized and overly wordy. But somewhere in the massive amount of words it rings true for me. God and I walk forward together. May I listen as much as I speak. That would be a good start :-). I hope your day has some amazement and some blue true dream of sky.


About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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35 Responses to e.e. cummings was ‘groovy’ back in the day

  1. i really enjoy his stuff(i small case intentionally)

  2. Susan Michaels says:

    Just what I needed, Kate! Thanks so much for a reminder of e.e. cummings. I’ve always liked his poetry style. And I strongly endorse all writers who are committed to finding their own voice and not apologizing for it. We need to write what’s within us…and not get bogged down by worrying about what people may or may not want to hear or read. That’s the freedom of creative writing. It’s about not only writing outside the box, but JUMPING! No question, e.e. cummings was the ‘poster poet’ for all non-conformist writers!

    Oh oh…it’s -36’C here in Winnipeg today. Now that I’ve read your post, ol’ man winter is NOT going to stop me. You’ve inspired me! I’m jumping into my parka and big boots, to gaze at the “blue true dream of sky”. (Right now, “greenly spirits of trees” are but a distant dream. šŸ™‚ sigh…)

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oooh Winnipeg!!! When I was in HS and living in Minneapolis, my dad worked for the railroad and we could get rail passes. My whole family took the night train up to Winnipeg—spent the whole day in beautiful Winnipeg—and then took the night train back to Minneapolis. I have very fond memories of Winnipeg. You would love it in phoenix today—sunny and in the 60s. (In the teens up north by the Grand Canyon). Keep writing, oh creative voice of Winnipeg šŸ™‚

  3. Oh Yeah Kate! I remember. I remember planting my first tree on Earth Day.
    In so many ways this baroness’s still lives very much with those Kumbayah beliefs. If I give them up I would be giving p the very soul of my beginning as a young adult. I know with no doubts that who I am today started in those circles of love holding hands. And singing Kumbayah ~

    My day has amazement. In this post by you. You took me back to a time I often have on a shelf, and really would like to write, talk, and share more about that time with my children and grand children.

    Please never think your writing overly wordy or disorganized. Without it I would not have had the gift of the memories this morning that will set my tone for the day. Sincerely & fondly I mean this.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      ;’ I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony….~ Oh i surely remember the first Earth Day….and hunger hikes and all kinds of things….and know we can write the words that pass our history on to others. Goodness cannot be quelched. Hope your day is amazing. You are amazing, too šŸ™‚

  4. maenamor says:

    Brilliant šŸ˜‰ i now have a bit more knowledge than when i woke up this morn

  5. Lovely. Like you, mine wasn’t an easy morning, but after a good snuggle with my younger teen during our history video, I was able to reset my inner optimist.

    I hope you got your walk in and I thank you for sharing some Cummings and your own wonderful writer’s voice with me today.

  6. Cathy Monteiro says:

    i’m feeling greenly right now. thanks kate.

  7. Patricia says:

    My day was wonderful! Had lunch with a friend in a small cafe. We, well I, was the oldest person there. Everyone was being very adult and grown up. Something my friend and I were talking about got me to laughing–and I could not stop. Before you know it the whole place was laughing. I believe they were laughing with me, of course, and not at me. It was amazing!

  8. Jo Bryant says:

    fabulous post Kate…
    I know it has taken a while ā€“ but here is my thank you/acceptance of the award you were kind enough to honour me with:

  9. Kumbayah days…whoo boy, those are some memories. I always thought e.e. cummings was groovy too. Groovy, now there’s a word I haven’t used in a long, long time, like far out.

    Peace and love beads, šŸ˜‰
    Your friend at Mama’s Empty Nest

  10. TBM says:

    I also go for walks when I feel blue.

  11. Judee says:

    How well I do remember the Kumbayah years! And e e cummings. For some reason I always seemed to understand what he was saying, no matter how convoluted it got.

    Peace, love, and eternal optimism ruled the days and I will always feel a sweet nostalgia for the “age of aquarius”. “Far out” was my mantra, and life was so uncomplicated. Sweet blessing of living in the moment.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I know. There were so many lovely things about it, and such sweet, lovely, optimistic folk music. I was blissfully naive in those years.

      • Judee says:

        Ah, but were we really naive? I like to think we got a glimpse of the truth of human nature, who we really are and how things could be, how they may yet be one day. We were just a bit ahead of time, the world wasn’t quite ready. And it may not be ready within our lifetime, but I like to think that some day, the seeds we planted will bloom…

        • Kate Kresse says:

          i guess i meant naive inthat we would instantly evoke change. it turns out that instantly is a relative term! for instance, ending slavery here took from 1776 to 1865. The Civil Rights Act took another 100 years. Yes indeed, the seeds we planted will bloom. They are already sprouting in oh so many ways. We will continue to see the world raised up—

  12. Tilly Bud says:

    A lovely post. I didn’t know this poem. Wonderful. Feel better soon šŸ™‚

  13. there really is a prince charming
    and a camelot
    a land that is fairer than day
    and that is why we long for the day
    look for the day
    wait for the day
    of revealing

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh Amen…..and that closing scene in Camelot always makes me cry—when Arthur is looking off in the distance….Yes, there is a Camelot. Yes there will be a time when all our tears are dried. We wait for that day, don’t we?

  14. We all have those “blue” days, but I would imagine they are more out-of-character for a perennial optimist. Kate your writing style is very warm, friendly,and welcoming.–.not a thing in the world wrong with that! You make people feel as if they are sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee with a good friend. I agree with what someone said in an earlier comment, We each have to be who God made us to be. Just remember God created you special! and you are special to a lot of people. Blessings, Connie

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks, Connie. Talking over coffee, or walking together through the woods or along the shore, or sitting on a dock swinging my feet in the water —those are the feelings i hope to evoke with my writing. Yesterday I was struggling to come up with words to write….I don’t like when that happens :-). You are right, feeling off or down doesn’t happen very often—even if i have been sleepless the night before. last night i slept great. Blessings to you, too—Kate

  15. Madeline says:

    i really, really love this part of the poem as a prayer starter–it helps me take the focus off the navel gazing i am prone to and points me in the right direction of wonderment and gratitude. thanks again and again for sharing with us!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      You’re welcome, Madeline. I tend to be a thinker and analyzer, too. So I know what you mean about navel gazing. Not surprisingly, when I spend too much time navel gazing i end up feeling off kilter and miserable.

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