Not Even the Rain

I have really been enjoying the poetry season programmes on the BBC lately. One of these had the comedian Robert Webb talking about the emotional impact of poetry upon his life. A poem’s focus is intense,a form of meditation, like staring at one object and discovering  that you see more and more of that object, the intensity of your gaze opening to the richness and complexity of something that had once seen mundane. Poetry can reconnect you to yourself. 

 At one point in the Rob Webb programme he spoke to Clive James about their shared love of  e e cummings. Cummings writes brilliantly about the experience of love. A friend recently wrote me that love can so often break us open, all illusions of our being in control – of our selves being held together – crumbling away. Love works on us in mysterious ways; it makes tender all that we defensively stiffen; it forces flow in those stagnant places. I keep thinking of Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Willy’ : And I feel like I’m just being born, like a shiny light breaking in a storm… It takes skill to write about love without slipping into cliche but cummings is touching and truthful:

Your slightest look  easily will unclose me.

Though I have closed myself as fingers

you open always, petal by petal my self

As spring opens, touching skillfully, mysteriously, the first rose

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.

e e cummings

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