i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)
Eight years ago, I wanted to read poetry. Smart people love poetry because everything isn’t spelled out for them like it is in fiction. There are things to discuss, ponder. You don’t always have all the pieces you need for the whole picture simply handed to you. I thought was smart, so I should like poetry.
I emerged from that strange and tumultuous time with two very important tidbits of information: (1) there is very little poetry worth reading and (2) ee cummings is among those elite few.
Giving a full analysis isn’t my intention here. I don’t want to give some high school or college kid the answers to their homework (although if your English teacher/professor has assigned this poem, your English teachers are WAY cooler than mine ever were…) or give you some deep philosophical meaning in broken sentences. We are consistently bombarded with stupid crap marauding as “intellectual stimulation” (i.e. a lot of prime time TV and some fairly popular book series) that I think maybe we’ve temporarily forgotten what it is like to be challenged by our entertainment.
So! Enjoy. 🙂
Why did I pick this piece first? It was one of the first poems I ever discovered by ee cummings. What does it mean? As with any piece of fiction, it can mean different things to different people. It all depends on your experience. Some may see it as a testament to God’s unending love (the church being a representation of Him). Others may see it as a picture of life. Still others may see it as a “do what you do with all your might” poem.
Isn’t that the beauty of good literature? How it allows itself to be loved by so many different people with so many different experiences?