Sunday, August 31, 2008

Doll's boy's asleep

Doll's boy's asleep
under a stile
he sees eight and twenty
ladies in a line

the first lady
says to nine ladies
his lips drink water
but his heart drinks wine

the tenth lady
says to the nine ladies
they must chain his foot
for his wrist's too fine

the nineteenth
says to nine ladies
you take his mouth
for his eyes are mine.

Doll's boy's asleep
under the stile
for every mile the feet go
the heart goes nine

e.e.cummings, 1923


Steve Malley said...

Crikey, that's creepy!!

Sidney said...

I had not read that one before. Interesting piece.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very surreal poem.

HemlockMan said...

Whenever I see someone mucking about with the rules, I wish to nag them mercilessly, like a great harpy.

E.E. CUMMINGS. There. Just to get under his dead skin.

G. W. Ferguson said...

Geez, you had to do that just after I posted about my childhood fears.

Guess I won't be getting any sleep tonight!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Sid: that's one of my favorite poems by cummings because I really don't know what exactly is going on.

Steve: let that be a lesson that you don't know what I'll be posting here! Now go buy some Nelson Algren.

hemlockman: we've talked, Ernest Estlin Cummings was a futurist, like Tony Stark, only with words, not armor.

Charles: First time I read this was on an el train in winter and got the creeps, much as I got from reading GW Ferguson's link.

Karellin said...

I love this poem. To me, it is a description of the artist, or of the artistic endeavor. cummings is the connoisseur of deep feeling: "for every mile the feet go, the heart goes nine." The rest of the poem describes the esthetic and almost other-worldly nature of the poet-artist.