e. e. cummings and other things

Today I was busy cleaning – sort of. That’s basically a lie. I wasn’t really working on it. All I did of any merit was unplug my piano and move it out of my room (which was stupid) and start cleaning out my desk drawers. That involved finding a lot of old English papers from sophomore and junior years, old angsty poetry about my first breakup, a couple of failed love poems from about January that I threw away, and the coolest thing – a letter that I wrote on January 8, 2011, with the envelope inscribed “Do not open until January 8, 2021.”

Now this is cool because it’s a Lucy Maud Montgomery thing, as she set down in whichever Emily book it was, to write a letter and open it ten years later. Being that I was a sophomore and unhappy and had ridiculous things to say, I will be grateful for the perspective of seven-and-a-half more years before I open it. I feel like if I read it now I’d be ashamed of myself. So we wait.

Then I started reading the book of e. e. cummings poetry Mr. Bird gave me the last week of school. I love it. I have three favorites – “who were so dark of heart they might not speak,” which I think is already copied on this blog, “if everything happens that can’t be done,” and the best one of all, “since feeling is first,” which I will copy now.


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

Is’t not beautiful? It makes me want to use archaic language and talk in a British accent and hold someone in my arms in a grassy field somewhere, which makes me an incurable romantic. But whatever.

The other thing about today is that I learned the name of my roommate in Pocatello next year and literally nothing else. I am excited to find out who she is and what she is about. We’ll see.

And lastly, I want to talk about a theory that has been percolating for a while but which I just haven’t blogged about because, well, I’m a bad blogger. Here it is.

Relationships are like ice cream sundaes.

Now you could take that any way you want to. Sweet? Yes. Nutty? Yes. Messy? Yes. But that’s not quite the metaphor I mean.

Think of it this way. The ice cream is character, or the kind of person they are. Attributes like honest, funny, loving, compassionate, brave, patient, kind, et cetera. The kind where you really know a person. The fudge and the nuts and the whipped cream are things like talents and preferences and interests. And their looks are the cherry.

But you can’t try to have a sundae without ice cream. Matt and I did and it failed.

You can have ice cream just by itself, although that’d be kind of boring in a romantic relationship. It makes for a pretty great friendship though. You can have everything but the cherry because the cherry’s not important (and I hate cherries anyway, though don’t let anyone confuse that with me not liking attractive guys). Or you can have the whole thing, but you don’t NEED everything.

The cool thing about ice-cream-only friendships is that they, as Madeleine L’Engle said, “cut through what we do to who we are.” With Derek and Hannah I have ice cream friendships with a little drizzle of hot fudge across it. We share some interests, but not enough to make us competitive – which, in anyone you want to be happy with, is a very. Bad. Thing.

And so it goes, which is my favorite Billy Joel song of all time.


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