The Weekly Verse: All Nearness Pauses, while a Star Can Grow by E. E. Cummings

16 July 2014 by 3 Comments
The Weekly Verse: One poem per week.

(Did you know it’s E.E. Cummings and not e.e. cummings according to the man (and his wife) himself? Learn something new every day, right?! It’s super fascinating how an error can become canon . . . BRB while I go question everything I ever learned.)

Cummings is always a poetry favorite. He tackled some big ideas–love, time–and he was somehow able to perfectly capture the bigness of those ideas in small poems. He was a truly inventive poet; while his themes often hearken back to Romanticism, his expression is a fully modern reinterpretation of forms like the sonnet. For me, he’s the van Gogh of poetry–there has never been another poet who can begin to duplicate his mode of expression, and likely, there never will be.

This poem is one that I read for the first time this week. Originally published in Poetry magazine, this poem seems to be about (among other things) time and space. I particularly like the line “and history immeasurably is / wealthier by a single day’s sweet death:” because it’s an interesting take on the passage of time. History gets larger, more complex, “wealthier” all the time–but the flip side is that those are our days spinning out, our limited time going away, as Cummings notes when he says that time “takes all.”

Cummings has a habit of re-arranging words so that they don’t fit what we normally would consider a proper speaking or writing pattern. If you’re new to reading him, you might be a little “WTF?” but it’s okay–the words aren’t always meant to be understood literally and individually. It’s a bit impressionist, and it’s okay to go with your gut feeling about what it means.

All Nearness Pauses, while a Star Can Grow

by E. E. Cummings

all nearness pauses, while a star can grow

all distance breathes a final dream of bells;
perfectly outlined against afterglow
are all amazing the and peaceful hills

(not where not here but neither’s blue most both)

and history immeasurably is
wealthier by a single sweet day’s death:
as not imagined secrecies compromise

goldenly huge whole the upfloating moon.

Time’s a strange fellow;
more he gives than takes
(and he takes all) nor any marvel finds

quite disappearance but some keener makes
losing, gaining
–love! if a world ends

more than all words begin to (see?) begin


Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

3 thoughts on “The Weekly Verse: All Nearness Pauses, while a Star Can Grow by E. E. Cummings

  1. AH, my most favorite man!
    DO wish i’d known about the capitalization bit BEFORE my tattoo, but alas, got it a year before i did a research project on him.

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