Sunday, 11 March 2012

Life is More True than Reason will Deceive: EE Cummings & a Riposte to Reason!

existing's tricky:but to live's a gift” 
Here I am writing against another tirade of cynicism, logic, reason and blah blah blah boring blasé haggering. I've been trying to weather the insistent downpouring of doubt upon my parade, naysayers and their woeful lamentations with a negative force of 10 on the Richter mood scale. Oh. And oh.

But here - a realisation - thank God I'm not a logical, practical, realist person! Life would be so boring and bland.  Not this coloured, reeling, alchemal world of imagination that mine is. 

Persistently practical people questioning all the great absolutes of living get on my nerves just a tad.  I believe in these wholes. These absolutes of beauty and possibilities and that life is to be lived, not analysed away - 'beware of heartless them/(given the scalpel, they dissect a kiss/or, sold the reason, they undream a dream) Yes, thank you EE Cummings. If it wasn't for poetry, I'd lose my footing at times in their cynical trenches. 

Because poetry is the one solid foundation of proof against these practical, science-wielding, logical lacklustre people. It proves that life is here for the living, enjoying, appreciating. Why should everything be explained and devalued and delineated into addings-up and making sense, and being 'realistic.' Realism will give you life in 2d; imagination a wonderful 3D ride. 
Poetry knows how it is. And I'm going to include some poems here by EE Cummings, avant-garde poet extraordinaire and one of my favourite poets ever. One of the reasons why I love this poet is because of the freedom and energy of his poems. In his life and his writing, he placed primary emphasis on feeling rather than thinking: he maintained that to be 'Alive' was to live at a heightened emotional intensity and, conversely, that merely to exist was the equivalent of being 'dead'. Hear hear! All ye logical, practical, tied-to-rules and regimented lives people, take note! 

His unique stylistic technique of lower-casing, jumbled-up syntax and lack of punctuation adds to the freestyle element - it was a form of rebellion for him against traditional forms and their restrictions both in life and in art.  (It was also a way of representing feeling first, rather than meaning - what was his main thematic interest. The poems may not make 'sense' on a 'logical' level at first glance, but they do evoke a powerful emotional response which contributes to an altogether more thorough understanding, ie a visceral, intellectual and emotional one. Indeed, a test to see whether you're a person of reason or passionate persuasions -  if you like his poetry or not!) 

And here, I'm including these poems as a form of rebellion for me, against the traditional restrictions being lashed upon not just me, but all free-spirited thinkers, who prefer to revel and appreciate and believe in what life has to offer - 'feeling first'; rather than analysing and debunking and explaining it all away with reason's steam-roller 'sense', doubt's dismissal and logic's nit-picking over meaning.

Someone once said that reading a poem a day is like taking a vitamin for the soul, well if that is the case, reading an EE Cummings poem a day must be equivalent to downing a mutli-vitamin tonic for living! He valued spontaneity and creativity above all else, and this comes across so energetically in his poems, that they seem to leap off the page and smack you in the face with a burst of blooms and smiles. Cummings had a Romantic view of life: his preference for emotion over reason, the natural life rather than the civilized life with all its complexities, mystery rather than certainty, poetry rather than science.

Those who pay attention to 'the syntax of things', as he puts it, will never truly or fully live. 'Deeper is life than lose, higher than have.' There's more to life than societal structures, set-ups, should-dos. And I know this, but sometimes I need reminding, whilst in the face of so much superficial, scientific, statistical, society-pleasing, spirit-sapping haranguing.
So thanks to reading some more EE, now maybe I can turn my mind to things like the importance of daffodils (which are seriusly underrated- who can gauge the full effect of their sunny disposition on passers-by - look at Wordsworth!) and all such Spring wonder, and silence the tut-tutting of tiresome (tired) critics.

So, let this post be for appreciating. For knocking reason on the head and glorying in the wonder of Spring and new sun and blue skies and daffodils and those topsy-turvy non-sensical feelings we get that we can't explain but take such joy in, the excitement of a hope tugging on our mind like a balloon, a pursuit of a possibility against all the odds, an indulging in a non-logical luxury, a bluebird dream in the heart coming to the hand, a belief in over-the-rainbow states of mind, a life where the small things don't overwhelm the big and smiles trump frowns and wishes win hands down on practical woes. There.

Stay tuned for more EE Cummings coming soon...

~ Siobhán.

Shame on all cynics and analytical reasoners! -

since feeling is first - ee cummings

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 

You're never foolish to appreciate everyday wonder and revel in it! :

may my heart always be open - ee cummings
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

And finally, my mantra against realism. Reason is not the means to understand life!! Life is a mystery, a wonder, an exhilaration to be felt and appreciated and awed, not reduced by the shackles of reason:
life is more true - ee cummings 
life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
–but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete:pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death,as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment by signing in with your Google ID, blog/website, or Anonymous if you haven't any of these! It's easy! Feedback tickles me pink :)