sun moon stars rain
Posted by ddrees on August 17, 2008
When I was in Freshman English at Skidmore in 1963 we were asked to analyze e e cummings “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. Everyone, even the worst reprobate Union College boys, thought e e cummings was the coolest. In my class, girls who had gone to the High School of Music and Art seemed to be able to talk in secret language to the teacher, Donald Tritschler, who I think was in his first year of teaching. I did not know what he was talking about or asking us to talk about. I was in a cold sweat in that class. I felt that we had not been prepared at Utica Free Academy to trust our own ideas or instincts when reading, so things were sucked in and held in abeyance till someone with authority would steer us towards what to think. I really loved the stuff we read and thought a great deal about it but I was expecting that coming from the provinces to this golden place would allow me to be filled with the external wisdom that they had and I did not. So I was tongue-tied. It took me till junior year to work this out when Arnold Bittleman, my late great drawing teacher, said in a lecture that when he went to college he expected to be able to be filled with external wisdom but then found out that it came from inside. I do not know the source of this Bittleman Self Portrait. I grabbed it off the internet years ago.
But I got through Freshman year through the kindness of my teacher’s hearts and it took me the next three years to get my grades up to an average that would let me in graduate school.
Unbeknownst to Donald Tritschler, the poem has resonated in my imagery. It may be a little abstruse crossing from verbal to visual but it works for me. The art teachers at Skidmore never managed to indoctrinate me into thinking that having literary elements in one’s art was anathema. That was part of that era that I am glad is forgotten. Who is Clement Greenberg? No link for him in my blog. See Tom Wolfe instead.
Here is the poem.
by e e cummings
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did
women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
From Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1923, 1931, 1935, 1940, 1951, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1976, 1978, 1979 by George James Firmage.
Lines from this poem wash across my brain often. Below are some of my artworks that I see as having a kinship to it.
Pink Landscape ©1995 Dedree Drees digital
Above named from a Bob Dylan song lyric
The multiple sky idea is just an appreciation of all the light shows we get to watch, no two alike and in every color you can imagine. I believe there are plenty of Flickr groups on the subject. You know ‘”the world is so full of a number of things, that I think we should all be as happy as Kings”.
There is a nice old German song about the good moon Guter Mond du gehst so stille with awareness of people from all times and places connecting by seeing the same old moon.
This named for Mathew Arnold Poem –Dover Beach. Being literary again
Sometimes I can not get wordpress to show the captions- do not know why. The image above is from 1996 and is a digital version of Dover Beach.
Above named for Bach Cantata- “Schafe können sicher weiden”. You can play that at my funeral
International Klein Blue is a color Yves Klein painted on many things. I saw his show in the Jewish museum in 1967 or 1968. He had died young in 1962. Unbelievably I find a Wikipedia link here to IKB. The world is so full of a number of things…
Fooling around with colorways on the computer – sure is fun. I mean it!
The above was from a photo taken on a rainy day as we drove to Pittsburgh for my father-in-laws funeral. So it is rainy,sad,cyclic, eternal.
This is 1995 Lightening scape, digital, from the same photo as Cumberland Fall.
The title is from an haiku but I do not remember where I first saw it. This is the best link I found though it is not the same translation.
Lie on one another
The rain beats the rain