Literature Monday: ee Cummings, wherelings whenlings

Today’s poem is by ee Cummings, whose work has reminded me that it is possible to not only create outside of the box, but also use the box itself in the creation. A lot of his poetry are love poems, and while he has a bit of a reputation as being hard to read, this isn’t actually always the case. Cummings’ style is distinct and imaginative: he has a playful take on English, making up words and cutting in the middle of sentences, but his poetry is always a thing of beauty. Here is wherelings whenlings, which, to me, is so vividly written that I can hear it as music.

(daughters of if but offspring of hopefear
sons of unless and children of almost)

never shall guess the dimension of

him whose

foot likes the
here of this earth
whose both

this now of the sky

– endlings of isn’t

shall never

to begin to

imagine how(only are shall be were

dawn dark rain snow rain
– bow;



’s whis-

in sunset

or thrushes toward dusk among whippoorwills or

tree field rock hollyhock forest brook chikadee
mountain. Mountain)

whycoloured worlds of because do

not stand against yes which is built by

forever; sunsmell
(sometimes a wonder

of wild roses


with north

the barn

(Poem: “whenlings wherelings”, ee Cummings, poet unconventional, poet working out of and writing on the box itself.) 


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