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.

Little Jack Horner – Discussion

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner
Eating a Christmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, “What a good boy am I!”

Anonymous

Discussion …

What is the meaning behind the well-known words of this nursey rhyme …

… my thoughts …… he sat in the corner … perhaps he didn’t want to be found out that he had taken the pie, he wanted to secretly have it to himself and not be disturbed … and what was he after – plums! … he ignored the pastry and put in his thumb searching for one … he seems impatient to get to the inside … though the pie is much more!… and he does seem to be a little self-centred and that anything slightly fortunate is due to him being good and deserving of such fortune … what if the plum had a stone which cracked a tooth … would that have indicated that he had done something bad.

… this nursery rhyme was given as the chapter-title-poem on Meaning and Idea in Laurence Perrine’s excellent book Literature – Structure, Sound, and Sense (isbn 0-15-55 1100-9) … the interpretation …the pie exists for the plum (at least for Jack) though the pie is much more! … poetry (pie) is more than just meaning (plum) … savour the whole poetry pie please … don’t just look for meaning … that’s right eat the pastry and enjoy with your custard! … take a holistic approach when reading poetry … don’t just search for your plums … savour the total poetic experience … even if the essence of the poem is alien to your point of view … and poems are not word puzzles to be interrogated by the mind of the reader seeking some justification for their existencu.

Well Christmas is coming and I guess presents will come your way in some form or other. So make sure you inspect the card carefully and unwrapp slowly and when you sight the the unwanted (don’t go plum crazy) be generous in your response no matter what … quite often the ‘unwanted’ can eventually be of use to you or someone else … and if you are a poet you should be well versed in the use of your imagination!

Footnotes …

… funny that even today some still think that if something “unfortunate” happens it is due to that person being bad … and globally the current world woes are, of course, due to the world being bad

The origins/history according to the Site below give a different perspective on this nursery rhyme … http://www.rhymes.org.uk/little_jack_horner.htm
… funny place to put valuables – in a pie … there again we used to have a coin in the family Christmas pudding … a three-penny piece from memory. And I must admit that as a child the main focus was on getting a coin.