Random Musing

“The advice about being the sum of the people you hang with and the books you read extends to other media as well. Careful what radio and TV you watch; it can make you negative fast.”- Brad Montgomery, Corporate Comedian

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Poetic Interlude

Whilst reading an article on Air Tax (yes, really) over at Pravda, I came across a reference to a poem by Edward Estlin Cummings (or more usually known as e e cummings) entitled When Serpents Bargain.

Before the poem itself, some analysis as to its meaning :

Mankind is fond of setting himself above and apart from the‘animals’, proclaiming himself superior by virtue of his ability to reason.  In this sonnet, which manages to be as sweetly bucolic as it is sarcastic, E. E. Cummings portrays several of man’s accepted practices as pretentious, ridiculous affectations.  While the examples of unlikely behaviors Cummings presents are far more graceful than the figure of speech we more commonly encounter, “When pigs fly!”, I can’t help wondering if the poet took some inspiration there.  Paraphrased, his message seems to be, “When I see Nature doing these sorts of things, then (and not until) – which means never – will I agree that man is right in doing them and raise him to the elevated status which he claims for himself.”

Not too far off in my opinion – do enjoy :

when serpents bargain

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage –
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
– and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn – valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude – and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we’ll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind (and not until)
Edward Estlin Cummings

A hint of modern day UK about it as well, to my mind, with everyone and everything both needing permission and accusing the other at the same time.

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