Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day seven: LXIV (granted the all)

E. E. Cummings

granted the all
                     saving our young kiss only
must unexist,solemnly and per rules
apparelling its soullessness by lonely
antics of ridiculous molecules)

nakedest(aiming for hugely the
ignorant most precise essential flame
never which waked)& perfectingly We


      out of tinying time
                                (into supreme

        feeling memory shrink from such brief
selves as fiercely seek findingly new
textures of actual cool stupendous is

nor may truth opening encompass true)
while your contriving fate,my sharpening life

are(behind each no)touching every yes

Picked this one at random from Complete Poems 1904-1962. Opened the book in the middle and took the one on the left hand page. I've been feeling melancholy today and was hoping Cummings could cure it. So much of his work is joyful and celebratory. But I'm not sure this is the right poem for that - it suits my mood more than something I would have chosen.

"Lonely antics of ridiculous molecules" feels like a pretty accurate summation of what humanity is, today. Not for any particular reason, just that we humans seem a bit fragile and small in the scheme of things. Things feel hopeless, like society is this thing that is happening to us instead of a thing that we make happen. I don't know which of those is true.

What does it mean to be "touching every yes" in modern life? I think it's about being fully engaged with what you're doing, about mindfulness. That's something I've been working on for a while, actually. I stopped taking pictures because I felt like it was creating this distance between myself and the experiences I was having. I was spending more time thinking about taking a picture than I was enjoying the experience I wanted to commemorate. But it's hard to be in the moment all the time. I could turn off the picture-taking impulse, but I haven't yet figured out how to turn off the narrative impulse, the way my brain sort of describes what I'm doing, finds ways to phrase things humorously, writes little blog entries about everything. Sometimes I can sideline that by thinking very deliberately about a physical sensation, but that doesn't work for long.

I want to "fiercely seek" more often. I want to feel without thinking, hear without thinking. I want to learn how to just be. I just don't know if I have it in me.

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