i thank you God – e e cummings – analysis

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e e cummings (1894 – 1962) (in ‘complete poems 1904 – 1962’)

This is a Sunday praise poem … the birth of another week … the birth of another day. And someone once said that each day is a new life. I can’t help thinking of ‘Mrs Dalloway’ and all that happened on a glorious English summer June day in her party arrangements and the entertaining of friends.

This is a thankyou in recognition of the boundless happening of all that is Earth (illimitably – having no bounds).

And a statement that God can be found in the natural world.

Life is to be tasted, touched, heard, seen and breathed in all its immeasurable wonder. And in the last two lines there is a spiritual awakening expressed in terms of hearing and seeing.

And e e c had this prayer his only be want was he be he

(‘may I be I is the only prayer—not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong’)

An excellent discussion of this poem is on this Art and Theology site.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he was raised, a pastor’s son, in the Unitarian faith, which emphasizes the oneness of God. As an adult he wed this spiritual framework to Emersonian transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that celebrates humanity and nature. Elements from these two complementary traditions can be detected in his praise poem “i thank You God for most this amazing,” in which the natural world triggers an awakening to Truth. And for Cummings, Truth is a person, a “You” with a capital Y.

e e cummings on Wikipedia.

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