Oct 1, 2013

e.e. cummings, "when serpents bargain." A Little Drummer Girl.

Some politicians are at it again. I'm baffled.

The video below is a partial antidote for me, even better than poetry. Maybe it will be for some of you too. If you're short on time, be sure to skip ahead to the two-minute mark to hear the kid take off in a kind of pleasure (rapture?) that's rare. Watch her face. Even her old man on piano has an oddly winning way about him.

I was going to say you should not play this at a funeral or a library, but it might be just the thing:


If, in the privacy of your rooms,  that father and daughter are no help, I wonder if something big is wrong at your place. 

Or maybe I'm just your poetry-shoeshine boy, in which case here's an e.e. cummings that might be relevant.

e. e. cummings
"when serpents bargain for the right to squirm"

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage--
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
--and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn-valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude-and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we'll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind(and not until)


If you'd like some commentary, I wrote about the poem in April of 2011. My post is a little cantakerous, but its point of view is worth keeping in mind as we tend to romanticize about the romanticizing e.e.  He has a way with words and feelings, but his thinking can be a little . . .  loosey-goosey?



Jean Spitzer said...

Beautiful photo, first one.

Couldn't get the video to play, but no matter. Trust that the politicians will eventually get it together sufficiently.

Like the first part of the poem a lot and the rest of it, too, once I read it out loud.

You were cranky about this?

Jean Spitzer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stickup Artist said...

I really liked the e.e. cummings. I thought it very clever and kind of funny even.

Love your first photo. Here, autumn is evident only by cooler temps (mid 80's), long shadows, and changing light. I'll not see any color till the first rain, which will bring out the color on the still dry chaparral.

You asked earlier if I were from here. No, I'm from NYC via Philadelphia, PA. Then, lived in Huntington Beach for a couple years, then moved out here 4 years ago. My favorite is the beach...

And God Bless youtube. The best thing since I don't know when!

RuneE said...

The video was great, and the girl drummer certainly knew her stuff. I don't envy you a certain segment of you politicians at the moment, and may have to stop drinking tea in sympathy with the rest of the US. I didn't get access to your former post, so it was not possible to judge how cantankerous you were. But The date for the poem says it all.

Anonymous said...

e.e. is one of my favorites, so I assume I disagreed with whatever you said. Don't know for sure because your link doesn't work...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Considering that the national parks are closed - and during my favorite month of travel, (think Bryce Canyon) I'll not be enjoying a vacation this year.

Yes the poem is relevant for me. The ocean refused to sign on the dotted line

Banjo52 said...

Thanks, everyone—good stuff, as usual. I don't think I was, or will be, mean to e.e. cummings--just questioning. So I’m going to “grow” my response into my next post—in a day or two, I hope.

(I think Bill Clinton was the first notable I heard using “grow” that way, about the economy. It’s a linguistic perversity, especially coming from someone that brilliant, but clearly it’s here to stay, so I’m gonna GROW stuff too, starting with acres of verbal skunk cabbage).

Banjo52 said...

How’s this? (Please feel no pressure to read it).


Lovers' Lane