‘i carry your heart’ by E.E. Cummings

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)

I am always astounded by this poem; it is sort of perfect, and I love it deeply. It always reminds me that language is alive and must be allowed to breathe, and inspires me to be creative and brave with it. This is an understated, incredibly touching (and slightly quirky) love poem. Cummings’ technique has always fascinated me, with his disregard for capital letters (and often syntax), his poems at first glance are perhaps disconcerting because they appear unordered. But, his poems are actually very carefully crafted to give their whimsical and childish or unschooled appearance. I am obsessed with some of the phrases in this poem, like “i want no world” and “it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant” and “the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart”. Basically, I’m obsessed with the whole thing, but these are just the gems in it that I can never forget. The other night, I was reading the foreword to ‘is 5′ (a collection Cummings published in 1926) and it was fascinating (he wrote the foreword). I thought I would share some of it with you. Here are some excerpts that I found both amusing and intriguing: “At least my theory of technique,if I have one, is very far from original;nor is it complicated. I can express it in fifteen words,by quoting The Eternal Question And Immortal Answer of burlesk,viz. ‘Would you hit a woman with a child? – No, I’d hit her with a brick.’ Like the burlesk comedian, I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement.” “my only interest in making money would be to make it. Fortunately,however,I should prefer to make almost anything else,including locomotives and roses. It is with roses and locomotives(not to mention acrobats Spring electricity Coney Island the 4th of July the eyes of mice and Niagara Falls,that my ‘poems’ are competing. They are also competing with each other,with elephants,and with El Greco.”

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh

  • nitrat

    I think this may be the only poem in the world that I like.
    I heard it recited in a movie several years ago and I nearly fell out of my chair. It took my breath away.
    It will go out of my mind for months and months, then come back in and I will find it a various websites and read it and see the minor variations in how the lines are printed/displayed, trying to find the one true way cummings wanted it printed.
    I love this poem.

  • patriotpix

    I just heard this poem recited in the movie, In Her Shoes. It was read by a sister … to her sister the bride … at the beginning of the wedding … so lovely and moving.

  • keats27

    I took one of those facebook tests. I’m a John Keats aficionado, and had not read this poem before so had high hopes.
    What I did not hope for was sappy sentiment, paradox and hyperbole’s hyperbole. With the exception of some clever
    line breaks, this was one massive disappointment. What Coleridge is to Eliot, this poem is to poetry.

  • Anjanette Ryan-Wilkes

    Mickey Donovan told his son this poem on the great series, Ray Donovan. I had to look it up. It is beautiful…