E.E. Cummings | Metamorphosis and Late Poems


We've plodded through a weird and weary time,
Called Winter by the calendar alone;
We have beheld an earth pool-deep in slime,
Image a heaven of stone.

We've found life hid between the folds of mire,
Sensed life in every place, heard life in tune.
The earth-shell cracks with underneath desire;
Spring crawls from the cocoon.

Her puny wings vibrant with will to grow,
She clings, expanding like an opening eye;
More large, more able, more developed, lo,
The perfect butterfly.



They have hung the sky with arrows,
Targes of jubilant flame, and helms of splendor,
Knives and daggers of hissing light, and furious swords.

They have hung the lake with moth-wings,
Blurs of purple, and shaggy warmths of gold,
Lazy curious wines, and curving curds of silver.

They have hung my heart with a sunset,
Lilting flowers, and feathered ageless flames,
Death and love: ashes of roses, ashes of angels.


A painted wind has sprung
Clean of the rotten dark,
Lancing the glutted wolves of rain.

The sky is carried by a blue assault.
Strident with sun the heights swarm,
The vasts bulge with banners.

Working angels
Shovel light in heaven.

To carnival, to carnival,
In ribbons of red fire,
With spokes of golden laughter,
God drives the jingling world.


You shall sing my songs, O earth.
With tilted lips and dancing throat shall you sing them,
The songs my poems.

You shall dream my dreams, O world.
Locked in the shining house of beautiful sleep,
Of the dreams my poems.

You shall smile my smile, love.
My eyes, my eyes have stroked the bird of your soul,
The bird my poems

Poems are from the book : E.E. Cummings Complete Poems 1904-1962, revised, corrected and expanded edition containing all the published poetry, edited by George J. Firmage, Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 2016

E. E. CUMMINGS (1894-1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. He was also a playwright, a painter, and a writer of prose. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he studied at Harvard University and, during World War I, served with an ambulance corps in France. He spent three months in a French detention camp and subsequently wrote The Enormous Room, a highly acclaimed criticism of World War I. After the war, Cummings returned to the States and published his first collection of poetry, Tulips & Chimneys, which was characterized by his innovative style: pushing the boundaries of language and form while discussing love, nature, and war with sensuousness and glee. He spent the rest of his life painting, writing poetry, and enjoying widespread popularity and success.


Leave a Reply