Sunday, May 13, 2007


I found this today while cleaning my desk drawers:

It's a c.c. cummings poem copied, i imagine, from a book of poetry onto a plain piece of paper and cut to the size of the poem. This was a gift. An unlikely gift. A gift that saved me for an afternoon.

Graduating with my MFA was a major low point in my life. I felt burned out, used up, and directionless. I sold my camera that year and felt like I had sold my arm and pulled my eyeballs out with tweezers. But it paid the rent.

I decided to focus on getting my body back in shape after years of sitting in an editing room and rewarding myself with brakes to baja fresh and snickers bars. I dropped a lot of weight and looked better than I had in years. But my head was a jumbled mess and I remember being so withdrawn that I had a hard time making simple conversation with people. Fortunately, I found yoga around that time at the YMCA and would go sometimes six days a week.

The person who gave me this poem was far more advanced than anyone in the class. He had the flexibility of an overcooked vermicelli noodle and exuded joy in his poses. One day he told me that the size of my hands reminded him of a poem. I think I responded something like, "oh." The next class that we had together, he gave me, quite to my surprise, the poem.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

e.e. cummings

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