Monday, 17 November 2014

Day 851: A Clown in Winter


There are lots of things I love about this EE poem. The enchantment it begins with: 'at the magical hour when is becomes if' - isn't that just - well, magical? The grouping of the phrase 'most people' into one word 'mostpeople', effectively lumping them together literally. The clown as representative to the poet as someone truly 'alive': 'completely alert and miraculously whole; with not merely a mind and a heart but unquestionably a soul' and as such, what 'mostpeople fear most'. So many of Cummings' poems explore this conflict between really being alive and just existing, the majority mundane-obeying 'mostpeople' and then the some vibrant characters that people his poems, (his own personality a lot of the time and his aspiring towards this) who live simply and spectacularly as a gift. 

And don't you just love that line about the clown not saying a word - but 'the silence of him self sang like a bird'? And look how the word 'self' is on a separate line, highlighting the clown's sense of separate self, his being, his independent existence on a different space. I just love the very last line, the 'crazy' offering of a daisy and everything it means and find myself in total agreement with him. How about you?

one winter afternoon - ee cummings

one winter afternoon

(at the magical hour
when is becomes if)

a bespangled clown
standing on eighth street
handed me a flower.

Nobody, it’s safe
to say, observed him but

myself;and why? because

without any doubt he was
whatever(first and last)

mostpeople fear most:
a mystery for which i’ve
no word except alive

–that is,completely alert
and miraculously whole;

with not merely a mind and a heart

but unquestionably a soul–
by no means funereally hilarious

(or otherwise democratic)
but essentially poetic
or ethereally serious:

a fine not a coarse clown
(no mob, but a person)

and while never saying a word

who was anything but dumb;
since the silence of him

self sang like a bird.

Mostpeople have been heard
screaming for international

measures that render hell rational
– i thank heaven somebody’s crazy

enough to give me a daisy


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