Love is. . .

more thicker than forget.


love is more thicker than forget
  more thinner than recall
  more seldom than a wave is wet
  more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
  and less it shall unbe
  than all the sea which only
  is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
  less never than alive
  less bigger than the least begin
  less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
  and more it cannot die
  than all the sky which only
  is higher than the sky

— E. E. Cummings (1939)

Literary Analysis

What is love? Oh Jay. . . what you on about? Me! Well, I’ll tell you my precious pearl, my turtle dove, the tea leaf who has rendered me Radio Rental. I’m going on about love and according to my interpretation of the poem, love is in fact, utterly ev-re:think. Moreover, as is evidenced in life and the poem, love is an oxymoron (oh! Ox.).

love is more thicker than forget / more thinner than recall


Love can make us higher than satellites in the sky, and lower than pressure pulverised submarines irretrievably sunk in the Romanche Trench (i.e., more than 25 thousand feet below sea level in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Rift).

Well, where to start? This poem, in essence, tells us how contrary, complex and all consuming love can be — I ain’t being an arrogant British man, And, I ain’t being a spoiled Kuwaiti princess, but I’ll say this: you’ll only get this poem’s import/message if you have actually lived through (or are living through) a painfully intense and incredibly fraught affair of love, and I’ll say this: the poem’s usage of opposite adjectives to describe love illustrates that love is concomitantly good and bad (for one’s mental state), love is pleasure and love is pain, love is bitter and love is sweet, love is rough and love is smooth.

Highlighting love’s complexity is the continual usage of juxtaposition throughout the poem. The most notable juxtaposition in the poem is referring to love as both “most sane and sunly” and “most mad and moonly.” This emphasises love’s naturalness (to humankind only?) and at the same time its utter irrationality (we don’t need love to reproduce and rear do we?). Love is every-FUCKING-thing. It can make us more alive than any-FUCKING-thing else. It can make us deader than dead and number (nummber not numBer 😉) than numb in the merest of instances. It is: the be all. It is: the end all. Love can indeed circumference the spectrum of human expression: “fleeting (rare), yet common (everywhere).” As exemplified in the poem:

mad as the moon / sane as the sun

Like all works of literature, imagery is key in seeking to create a palpable connection in the reader’s mind’s eye to what the author is seeking to articulate and convey. Does what she’s banging on about (does what he’s harping on about) strike a chord with you (dear reader)?

The poem is written in four quatrains, making it iambic tetrameter (thus a balad?). It has (I think) the following rhyme scheme A B A B C D C D E F E F C G C G. This gives the poem precise rhythm. Furthermore, all of the independent clauses are connected to the first word: “Love.” Finally, in terms of rhyme and repetition, you’ll note that every other one rhymes at the end.

it is most sane and sunly / and more it cannot die / than all the sky which only / is higher than the sky

Alliteration
— The use of the letter “m” in “it is most mad and moonly”, using the letter “L” in the third verse, and the letter “s” in the last verse are all examples of alliterations. In stanza one, we’ve three lines starting with ‘more’ and in the third stanza, three lines starting with ‘less’ this too gives the poem precise rhythm.

Imagery
01. The Sea — Love has a greater depth than the ocean, a natural element of Earth that is literally so deep humans only know only a small fraction of it — we can’t really fathom its vastness. We might then say, referencing the sea makes the reader associate love with such limitless depths and expanses.

02. The Sky (and the sun and the moon) — Cummings expresses love’s infinitude by stating that it is “higher than the sky.” Again this reinforces the extent to which love’s power and gravitational pull can be limitless.

Metaphors
— This poem has many metaphors; arguably the whole poem is a metaphor. “Love is more thicker than forget” is a metaphor and so is, “it is most sane and sunly.”

Mood
— Love lightens one’s mood, love darkens one’s mood; we’ve sunny days, we’ve moonlit nights. So the poem’s mood is both upbeat and downcast; excepting of fate and fighting fate. It is then — in my own view — heavy; a mood that’s ultimately heavy on the soul.

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EE Cummings signature


See too:
PoemsFrom America with Love.
PoemsFrom Russia with Love.

Halcyon
Another meaning of Halcyon is this: a mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm.

Soul Meets Soul on Lovers’ Lips

  The pain deep within sears with fiery burn
   A persistent pain, to which there’s no gain
   For you, you see, there’s nowhere I’ll not go
  So I’ll play this hand, for I can’t forego.
   There’s no depth too low, nor deprivation
   There’s no face too shear, or sunken station
   There’s no time too long, this is pure passion
   There’s no thing too far, for you’re my heaven.
   Two full moons have come and gone since you’ve gone
   The Whys for your departure, are now clear
   The guilt trips were cruel, my dear desert pearl
  The bathroom floor’s no place for a treasure.
   Oh how I now know the errors I’ve made; I know now too that true love does not fade.

Past & Present
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Oh let the hopeless amongst us bow to the Latter Day Romantics . . . . . .

John Keats lived to 25

P. B. Shelley lived to 30

Lord Byron lived to 36

. . . . . . . we can revise the tires but let us not replace the wheels; far better to pay yesteryear some degree of heed. But ya Jay Bae don’t here get me wrong, we do too need to be creative and inventive. It is true indeed that we can’t stay stuck perpetually in past’s lust but, we need to read a bit about it before we can gainfully dig for and articulate convincingly pleasures new.

A Master Cannot Serve Two Mistresses

Greek ‘n’ Roman love

6 love blinds / love binds 9

“Love, bittersweet and inescapable, creeps up on me and grabs me once again”

Such heartfelt words expressing personal emotion by the Greek poet Sappho led to a mode of poetry in addition to the histrionic and impersonal epic: a focus on the self. The power of the words used by Roman poet Catullus to describe his heartfelt longing and love (and obsession?) are palpable:-

“…as many as the stars, when night is still,
gazing down on secret human desires:
as many of your kisses kissed
are enough, and more, for mad Catullus”

Together, Catullus and Sappho provide the inspiration for many of the articulations on, and metaphors for, love that have been seen time and again in prose and poetry throughout the ensuing centuries, by way of Shakespeare and Spenser et al., to the present day (e.g., Sergei Yesenin and E. E. Cummings).

In the audio file below (lasting around 28 minutes), academics discuss Greek and Roman love poetry, focusing on Sappho and her erotic descriptions of romance on Lesbos and, the love-hate poems of Catullus.

Greek & Roman Love Poetry
In Our Time, BBC (2007):

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Antony and Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1885)
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Greece 🇬🇷 and Italy 🇮🇹
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Triumph of the Marine Venus by Sebastiano Ricci (c. 1713)
1863_Alexandre_Cabanel_-_The_Birth_of_Venus
The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel (1875)


p.s.

Palpable
1. (of a feeling or atmosphere) so intense as to seem almost tangible. — “A palpable sense of loss.”
2. Able to be touched or felt.

Tangible
Perceptible by touch. — “The atmosphere of neglect and abandonment was almost tangible.”

Intangible
Something that is unable to be touched; not having physical presence. — “The rose symbolised something intangible about their relationship.”

Cherry Robbers

From, ‘Love Poems and Others’ (1913)

Under the long, dark boughs, like jewels red
In the hair of an Eastern girl
Shine strings of crimson cherries, as if had bled
Blood-drops beneath each curl.

Under the glistening cherries, with folded wings
Three dead birds lie:
Pale-breasted throstles and a blackbird, robberlings
Stained with red dye.

Under the haystack a girl stands laughing at me,
With cherries hung round her ears—
Offering me her scarlet fruit: I will see
If she has any tears.

— D H Lawrance

Analysis…

the-virgin-spanking-the-christ-child-before-three-witnesses-andre-breton-paul-eluard-and-the-1926
‘The virgin spanking the christ-child before three witnesses’ (1926)