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Self-portrait with sketchpad, e.e. cummings, 1939 since feeling is first
(Edited excerpt from an e-mail to a friend)

Hey, You:

Tonight The Kiddo asked me to interpret an e.e. cummings poem: "since feeling is first."

Ironically, I read the poem while Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" from the "Pulse" album played in the background (over and over and over again, of course).

(Note: The illustration at the right is "Self-portrait with sketchpad" by e.e. cummings, circa 1939, oil on canvas, 43 X 31-1/2 in. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Art Collection, The University of Texas at Austin.)


                          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


Well, Jeez, I had a lump in my throat and my eyes were misty while I read my interpretation out loud and, then, tried to tell The Kiddo what I thought cummings might've meant.

Does she just naturally pick up on stuff that she thinks I might understand and appreciate and savor and maybe be able to explain better than anyone else she knows? Or does she want to scientifically determine the absolute melting-point of my heart? Or does she just wanna get a good grade on some assignment so her dad will be satisfied? Or does she imagine that she has discovered another something that might help in resolving her nebulous impression of who her father really is? Or....? I don't know. And I don't know.

Hey, what does this e.e. cummings poem mean to YOU? How did YOU feel after reading it? Could YOU offer your interpretation of the poem to your child without having a lump in your throat and a slight haze of mist in your eyes?



Be well, be happy....

Later, Dave

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