Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Reminder For The Empty Headed

Don Quixote
Fighting Windmills
by Pablo Picasso
The following is a poem by E.E. Commings (1894-1962).  Born and reared in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cummings developed a strong interest in poetry and art at an early age.  After completing studies in English and the classics at Harvard University, he moved to New York where he stayed until World War I.

His style is quite unique and often misunderstood.  One of the first things to be noticed about his poetry is the pronoun "i"  is used in the lower case.  This shows humility,  and is an effective way of reminding the reader that the self is not always as important as it seems.  Cummings uses "incorrect" syntax in unusual ways to help illustrate the meanings of his poems.  Capitalization, when used, is important in his poetry to emphasize words or phrases such as "Humanity i love you."

The following is in part and a depiction of Cummings whimsical, funny way of sending the reader a message.   The poem is about a little girl, by the name of Effie who has died and God has come to claim her body.

E. E. Cummings, here is little Effie's head

here is little Effie's head
whose brains are made of gingerbread
when judgment day comes
God will find six crumbs

stooping by the coffinlid
waiting for something to rise
as the other somethings did...
you imagine his surprise

bellowing through the general noise
Where is Effie who was dead? God in a tiny voice,
i am may the first crumb said

whereupon its fellow five
crumbs chuckled as if they were alive
and number two took up the song
might i'm called and did no wrong

cried the third crumb, i am should
and this is my little sister could
with our big brother who is would
don't punish us for we were good;

and the last crumb with some shame
whispered unto god, my name
is must and with the others i've
been Effie who isn't alive

cross the threshold have no dread
lift the sheet back in this way
here is little Effie's head
whose brains are made of gingerbread.


The six crumbs, May, Might, Should, Could, Would, and Must made up Effie's absence of a brain.  A lesson for all those who are empty headed, rid yourself of your woulds and coulds and shoulds so that God doesn't have trouble finding you when he comes to claim your body.

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