U3A: [i carry your heart with me]


Dante Gabriel Rossetti – 1850


“I Carry Your Heart With Me,” a poem by e. e. cummings, was first published in June 1952
As a contemporary poet, cummings plays with the established styles of poetry for the benefit of meaning and aesthetics.

He breaks all conventions, both those that belong to the poem written on the page and the ordinary conventions of any written text. There are, in fact, graphological deviation (split words, an almost total absence of capitalization and punctuation, an eccentric use of parenthesis and spacing), grammatical and syntactical deviations. These are vehicles to express part of the meaning or means to make it memorable, by challenging the expectations of the reader.

The poem also lacks the conventional capitalization of “i” ( each time it appears, it is lower case) maybe because the speaker  wants to be on the same level with his beloved.

It makes heavy use of parentheses: inside each set, the poet  seems to be declaring additional feelings, innermost thoughts  to be shared with the reader,  or he appears to be trying to protect his lover’s heart by encapsulating it within those  parentheses.

This is, needless to say,  a love poem: cummings makes it obvious from the beginning and suggests a great unity between the person declaring his feelings to the person being declared to. It details a powerful, romantic love from start to finish.
The poem ends almost the same way it begins: “i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart),” which brings the work back full circle and underlines that what matters is the simple idea that he is in love and he carries his beloved with him wherever he goes.


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