what if a much of a which of a wind
what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer’s lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
-when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man
what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
-whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it’s they shall cry hello to the spring
what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn’t; blow death to was)
-all nothing’s only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live
This is a poem that sings a scary , standing on the edge of a cliff tune. The wondrous skill of the poet plays with the reader – the rhythm is playful, whereas the message is apocalyptic. I have spent the majority of life fearing the the ‘dawn of a doom of a dream’ that bites ‘this universe in two,’
I heard a singer songwriter, Sharon Murphy, on a popular UK programme ‘The Voice’, who effected that same magic -the unquantifiable quality that by some alchemy changes words and melody , rhyme and cadence to thought and feeling, communicates the existential pain of longing that everyone feels, the understanding that loss and grief are an inevitable facet of human experience. If we are without our poets and musicians, our sculptors and our artists, where would we go to find ourselves? One of the darker aspects of living in the Western world in the 21st century is the effect neo-liberalism is having on the mindset of society. The human being is more than the sum of its parts, and should not be seen only as a unit of production. The more technology we introduce into the experience of being human, the more we need to balance our lives with connecting with nature, with life force, with the act of creating expression.
”I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention.” Marilynn Robinson
3 thoughts on “.. dawn of a doom of a dream…”
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Anne, I never can quite decide how much I like Cummings. Somehow the very rhythm of his verse is satisfying, but as with this one, I usually wish for a little more meaning than I can find. I like to see poems connect with an unexciting picture, as here.
Hello Martha -wonderful to hear from you. I love this poem -how abstract he manages to stay about the paradox and marvel that being sentient means – the unknown about consciousness is how I read this poem – how different a being that has breath , is different from anything without it. How difficult that is as well as how marvellous, and somehow the poem brings more poignancy to those things as humans are being transformed by the experience of living alongside technology , that although is proficient in so much above and beyond human ability, the kelson of creation lies within that extraordinary , mysterious complexity of living organism. That surely is the beauty of reading indeed listening/viewing – how the work lives beyond the author, literally connecting with the participating reader. Exciting. Hope you are very well indeed.Kind regards, Anne