love is more thicker than forget
by E. E. Cummings
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
You can find more visual Valentines here
Cummings played with language and syntax to create a unique expression of an age-old sentiment. He coined new words like “unbe” and used childlike expressions like “littler” to create a distinctive and unusual experience for the reader. He gives us a poem that’s as confusing and exhilarating as falling in love for the first time.
How To Skydive Without A Parachute
by Ian Hollyer
Once you realize that both pull strings are broken, it’s best not to panic.
Yes, you’re falling at 176 feet-per-second, but try and take a deep breath (even
in the scarce oxygen).
Screaming may seem appropriate, but try and restrain yourself. It only makes
you look insecure.
Instead, notice how the morning light plays on the emerald hills below.
Feel the sun warm your neck, and the wind scrambling your hair.
Even with all that air rushing by your eardrum, try turning your head.
You might even hear the faint wisp of a church bell from the valley.
Try tilting your face upward to the clouds, and see how the rising light burns
their edges pink and red.
Take in the freeness. Close your eyes, imagine, this is probably what an eagle
And don’t over-think it. Remember,
it’s not every day you get this kind of view.
This “how to” poem provides “you,” the reader, with instructions on how to react when your parachute is broken and you’re in freefall. The poem opens “in media res,” in the middle of the action — a life threatening situation. The first six lines acknowledge the urgency of your position, but advise you to stay calm. “Instead,” signals the turn of the poem as it changes focus and describes the view. The word “try” is repeated twice, urging you to try to appreciate the beauty around you from this new perspective. On one level, the poem is literally about skydiving. But how useful is this advice? How many of us are ever going to find ourselves skydiving? On a figurative level, the poem is a lesson on how to respond to any crisis or problem: don’t panic, try to find the positive, and enjoy the view. I hope you’ll remember this poem and find your inner eagle the next time your parachute doesn’t open.
To the New Year by W. S. Merwin
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible
Merwin personifies the new year and addresses it as “you” as if it were a person. The images of “first sunlight” and “morning” call to mind new beginnings and fresh starts. It is a hopeful poem in which anything is “still possible.” The complete lack of punctuation, even at the end of the poem, creates an open form that emphasizes the intangible potential that rises with the new year.
I’m still reading. I’m reading a chapter every day; most days; some days.
But I’m moving this project over to Twitter. Follow me there @deborahhauser2 https://twitter.com/DeborahHauser2
I am back after a short hiatus. I’m starting to think that reading Moby-Dick IS my Moby Dick.
Chapter 48 The First Lowering
…pulling into the charmed, churned circle of the hunted…
The phantoms surrounding Ahab are explained away as stowaways that have been hiding below board. Ishmael recalls Elijah’s warning. The crew pursues a school of sperm whales. Queequeg grazes a whale, but the whale escapes. A boat is lost, but the men are rescued.
Chapter 47 The Mat-Maker
…the ball of free will dropped from my hand…
Ishmael contemplates the interweaving of destiny, chance, and free will. Tashtego spots a school of sperm whales. Phantoms surround Ahab.
Chapter 46 Surmises
…keep a bright look-out, and not omit reporting even a porpoise.
Ishmael surmises what Ahab is thinking. Ahab, having impulsively revealed the true reason for the Pequod’s voyage, must guard against rebellion and hold out the hope of monetary riches to maintain the crew’s loyalty.
Chapter 45 The Affidavit
…boiling him down into a peculiarly valuable oil…be economical with your lamps and candles! blood was spilled for it.
Ishmael explains why the prior chapter was so important and lays out an argument to convince the reader that Moby Dick is distinguishable from other whales and acts with malice; and denies that Moby Dick is an allegory.
Chapter 44 The Chart
He sleeps with clenched hands; and wakes with his own bloody nails in his palms.
Ishmael describes Ahab in his cabin at night studying his sea chart and log-books.