"I carry your heart with me" A discussion of the poem by EE Cummings
The poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me,” by EE Cummings has been a favorite love poem and a favorite selection at weddings for many years. The poem has gained renewed interest since it appeared in the movie “In Her Shoes.” It is used to devastating effect in the film’s climactic wedding scene and again to close the film. Countless fans have been inspired to review the poignant words of “I carry your heart with me.”
EE Cummings was born Edward Estlin Cummings in 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He died in North Conway, NH, in 1962. Cummings earned a BA from Harvard in 1915 and gave the commencement address that year, titled “The New Art.” A year later he obtained a master’s degree in English and Classical Studies, also from Harvard.
Cummings joined an ambulance corps with the American Red Cross in France during World War I. The French incarcerated him on suspicion of disloyalty, a false accusation that put Cummings in prison for three months. He wrote the novel The huge room, about your experience. Many of Cummings’ writings have an anti-war message.
Cummings was an artist, playwright, and novelist. He studied art in Paris after World War I and adopted a cubist style in his artwork. He considered himself both a painter and a poet, spending much of the day painting and much of the night writing. Cummings particularly admired Pablo Picasso’s artwork. Cummings’ understanding of presentation can be seen in his use of typography to “paint a picture” with words in some of his poems.
During his lifetime, Cummings wrote more than 900 poems, two novels, four plays, and had at least half a dozen exhibitions of his artwork.
Contrary to popular opinion, Cummings never legalized his name as “ee cummings.” Your name must be capitalized correctly.
EE Cummings’ style of poetry is unique and highly visual. Its typographic independence was an experiment in punctuation, spelling, and rule-breaking. His style forces a certain rhythm in the poem when read aloud. His language is simple and his poems become fun and funny.
Cummings’ poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me,” is about deep, deep love, the kind that can separate the stars and that can transcend the soul or the mind. The poem is easy to read, speak, and easily understand by people of all ages.
The poem could almost be called a sonnet. You have almost the correct number of lines in almost the correct combination. But, typical of a Cummings poem, it follows its own direction and does so to great effect.
The poem is an excellent love song when put to music. Noted guitarist Michael Hedges has set “I carry your heart” to music on his album “Taproot”. Hedges himself sings the lead, but the backing vocals are provided by David Crosby and Graham Nash.
More than 168 of Cummings’ original poems have been set to music.
Enjoy the words and feelings of this famous poem.
I carry your heart with me
I carry your heart with me (I carry it inside
my heart) I’m never without it (anywhere
I go, you go, my dear; and whatever is done
Only for me is your work, darling)
without destiny (because you are my destiny, my sweet) I want
without world (for beautiful you are my world, my truth)
And you’re whatever a moon has always meant
and all that a sun will sing is always you
here is the deepest secret that no one 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; that grows
higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that keeps the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)