18 November 2011

__________Cummings:____________"next to of course god america i

E. E. Cummings

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water


Why I love this poem by E. E. Cummings:  (and yes, I capitalized his name on purpose.  It is hip to do so these days, apparently.   For a lengthy discussion as to why, see here:)

  •  It's a brilliant little character sketch done nearly entirely with dialogue.
  • It skewers simpleminded patriotism & criminally confused political rhetoric.
  • (Most astonishingly): It is a sonnet.  Look:  14 lines, and those end rhymes!  abab/cdcd/efg/feg.  Wow!
I remembered this little satirical gem while writing a blogpiece about my habit of memorizing poetry.  Watch this space for that one soon!
For compounded delight:
Hear the poet read his poem, here!