happy birthday, e.e. cummings

Atlantic contributor, painter, and poetic innovator Edward Estlin (e.e.) Cummings would have turned 116 years old today. Born on October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he began writing poems when he was ten years old. A Harvard University graduate, Cummings painted in a cubist style, used verbs as nouns, and wrote his poems almost exclusively in lowercase. In celebration of his birthday, here is one of his most famous poems, i carry your heart with me:

         i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Presented by

Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

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