Oft-brash or brazen leaders Call their plays without heart or thought They seek their mark from deeds they’ve wrought With pride they hold their titles high and status sought
They tend to go along to get along, never asking why they’ve gone Striving for their name in lights or throngs to sing a Song of Songs It’s easy, I suppose, to smugly cast a life, comfortably in an upper class To go to class, just get by, and never ask for whys or extra tasks
Certainly, it’s not the case that all don’t care It’s true that many do, but we need more Selfishness and greediness brought a world that’s unfair and war-torn I hope we can work together to speak against these elite and bring what’s right What the world needs is listening and kind souls, unafraid to fight
Gazing upon the still waters of my mind I sit, pondering Ripples course through, offering visions of those from another life Love lost, chains broken, the richness of shared sentiment shattered by mistakes unforgiven and habits untempered Why do we not accept our own humanity? Why do we not recognize our own selfishness? Why do we wallow in our discontents, paradoxically pleased at the torments and losses of those most near? I suppose it’s ignorance I suppose it’s capitalism I suppose it’s the need to replace the void of our self-worth To assert that, “Indeed, I know better!” “Indeed, I am better!” “Indeed, I am the conqueror!” “Indeed, I am of the higher class!” “Of the higher status!” “Of the higher authority!” “Of the higher sensibility or absolute true opinion!” “These are the convictions I have accepted, how could they NOT be right?!” In reality, none of know barely a thing We are most but willows in the wind, which is the accepted postulates, positions, or proposed notions of those who have come before, those who, for some reason, have set the standard of behavior and practice Popular will at the same time abhors and celebrates the eccentric The eccentric is only odd insofar as they are unaccepted As their grooves deepen and their art made resonant, so their oddness beams in the darkness, spouting glimmering phantasms that inspire genius and move mountains
So, if you didn’t know, E.E. Cummings is delightful. His words have this strange way of making you feel warm and wonderful inside. It’s probably because he’s a hoper, and hopers inspire.
This is prose. It’s a poetic narrative but not a poem.
It’s about the power of feeling feelings and how feeling feelings is the hardest thing in the world – harder than blowing up the world, actually. And it’s about how feeling feelings makes you the realest you.
From a hoper to (hopefully) another hoper, I present: A Poet’s Advice to Students by E.E. Cummings.
A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feeling through words.
This may sound easy. It isn’t.
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel-but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling-not knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.
To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time-and whenever we do it, we’re not poets.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve written one line of one poem, you’ll be very lucky indeed.
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world-unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.