E.E. Cummings Month: Manunkind — there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go

via defacedbooks on the tumblr.

pity this busy monster,manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim(death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness

A hardworking Man of Science.

–electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange;lenses extend

unwish through curving wherewhen until unwish
returns on its unself.
                                                          A world of made
is not a world of born-pity poor flesh

12 Monkeys still via the mental shed.

and trees,poor stars and stones,but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if-listen:there’s a hell
of a good universe next door;let’s go

(E.E. Cummings, “XIV.” 1944.)


This poem resonates with deeply effective wordplay and metaphor that are still just exactly what. “Man-unkind.” “Electrons deify one razor blade in to a mountain range.” “A world of made is not a world of born.” “Hyper-magical ultra-omnipotence.” Just exactly. I respond strongly to it because for me it’s a true intersection of my sci-fi geek self and my literary interests. But it also rings bigger bells for me.

via nevver on the tumblr.

I think I will put together a Movie Moment soon relating this to the documentary Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1983). “Koyaanisqatsi” means an imbalanced world, or a world and life that call for another way of life. It speaks to straying so far from any possible Creator’s vision for our selves and our planet that we must change everything about all of it, and it’s something I’ve found myself thinking about a lot in the last few years.

* “The Freedom for Animals Association on Second Avenue is the secret headquarters of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. They’re the ones who are going to do it. Have a merry Christmas!”

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7 Responses to “E.E. Cummings Month: Manunkind — there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go”

  1. namelessneed Says:

    thanx again for yr enthusiastic eclectic offerings
    you’ve taken me up new alleys

  2. Robert Cole Says:

    Marvelous conclusion. Yes, I agree!

  3. Fredric Williams Says:

    I found your site looking for the e.e. cummings poem. I teach poetry, among other things, in Seoul and usually use e. e. cummings to introduce students to what makes poetry . . . poetry.

    I’m working on a novel about a Utopian future — two centuries in the future. Do you have any thoughts about what life might be like if, instead of blowing ourselves into oblivion, we might find a way to live in harmony?

  4. Samuel Richter Says:

    I find this a poem to happy despair.

  5. Fredric Dennis Williams Says:

    Oh — and if it isn’t too much trouble, it would be nice to correct the spelling of “victim” in line 3.

  6. Caldwell, A.D Says:

    This was always one of my eight-grade specials……………….This and “ The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost………..poetic and justice at their best.

  7. Maggie Thatcher (@maggie_thatcher) Says:

    I made this using some of the trivia (acrylics on canvas) : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12-monkeys-fan-art-Acrylic-newspaper-spray-paint-on-canvas-twelve-monkeys-syfy-/151603900731?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item234c4bf13b

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