Friday, June 2, 2017

Birthday Poem inspired by e.e. cummings & Kwame Alexander & Yoda

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Buffy's Blog for Roundup. 

I'm in with a quick birthday poem for my sweet husband, whose birthday is today! I was inspired to write it after reading Kwame Alexander's e.e. cummings-inspired poem in OUT OF WONDER

I love the risks e.e. cummings took with his work, how unique and unrestrained... I tell kids all the time how one thing that draws me to poetry is how there really are no rules... e.e. cummings is a great example of that! Plus his sometimes-backwards way of phrasing things reminds me of Yoda. :)

Here is perhaps my favorite e.e. cummings poem (a love poem, of course!):

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 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)

And here is Kwame Alexander's poem:
I Like Your
celebrating e.e. cummings

I like my shoes when they are with
your shoes. Mostly the comes. Leastly
the goes. I carry your footsteps(onetwothreefour)
in between today(...)tomorrow.
          and again
                          and again
                                         I like 
to feel the flowers, and the follow
to your lead
It is such a happy thing to yes the next with you
to walk on magic love rugs beneath the what
and why nots
the anythings of
liking everybloomingthing -- four feet, two hearts, one
great           GREAT          GREAT(US)

- Kwame Alexander

And here is mine:

birthday poem

to you happy birthday
on this most beautiful day
stick a candle in every island
blow your sweet breath across
oceans into my seashell ear

to you happy birthday
in my rivers a thousand thank yous
for candles oceans the universe you
on this most beautiful day
for you i wish

- Irene Latham


  1. What a beautiful post....on craft....and yet just the poems too. You make me want to try this.
    The image of blowing breath across oceans to my seashell ear is so pretty...and ticklish ....exquisite. I always learn something here, Irene. That is after I've said, "wow!" to the sights and sounds.

  2. Sigh! This love poem along with Kelly Fineman's...heart eyes all around!

  3. Love abounds this Poetry Friday! I love Kwame's "walk on magic love rugs" and that you took the time for your husband to work at this "new" thing, and write the love into your poem is wonderful, Irene. Love each part, and this "in my rivers a thousand thank yous".

  4. What a lovely post. Happy Birthday to your husband! Cummings is my fave poet of all time, so this was a real treat to see his poem, Kwame's, and yours. :)

  5. What a wonderful trio--e.e., Kwame, and you! Love reading all three together. Fun fact: When I was in 8th grade (and Irene probably not yet a glimmer in her parents' eyes) Mrs. Pool had us choose a poem to share with our English class. I chose e.e. cummings' i carry your heart. (Mrs. Pool was not impressed--I think she gave me a C because lack of punctuation and not really a poet, etc. And Buffy should really try not to write.) I'm so happy to read this poem again today--and to razzle Mrs. Pool and wish happy birthday to your hubby!

  6. So much love, love, love!

    It took me a while to warm to e. e. cummings - as a young reader I just couldn't wrap my head around the strange spacing and punctuation, and the lack of structure and rules made me uncomfortable. Now that I'm older (and a bit wiser), I've learned to embrace poets who are willing to let their spirits shine through their words - life is too short to conform to other people's poetic expectations! :-)

  7. What a bonus--three beautiful poems! Enjoy celebrating your love's birthday today. It seems to be off to good start with your poetic gift.

  8. Oh Irene, between your post today and Linda M's, I'm writing this from a puddle on the floor. My heart has melted. xo

  9. I love reading about your process. I love the candles and "sweet breath across/ oceans". Delightful.

  10. Irene, I have always been a fan of cummings and of course, my friend, Kwame. I have heard Kwame recite his love poems many times but this one is different because it is cummings-like. Now, yours flows along with the others. When you wrote,
    stick a candle in every island
    blow your sweet breath across
    oceans into my seashell ear
    I swooned by the sheer beauty of the way those words sounded. Happy Birthday to your husband and many thanks for trying to be part of the NCFL conference. I will miss you but then again, I will see you at NCTE.

  11. Happy Birthday to your husband. A poem is such a special gift. xo

  12. Gorgeousness times three. Thank you <3

  13. What a gift you have created for your husband. I am sure he will treasure it, as your heart is embedded throughout. Happy Birthday wishes! -- Christie @

  14. OUt of Wonder is one of those must have books that I can come back to again and again. This tryptic is so wonderful. Happy birthday to your husband. I am swooning over the words "stick a candle in every island
    blow your sweet breath across
    oceans into my seashell ear" Magical and meaningful!

  15. I esp. like that candle in every island and the beautiful ending! Sweet! xo

  16. Thanks for this lovely escape into e.e. cummings and both of your inspired fun poems Irene; what a treat these all are, I'm ready to dance up in the clouds! I love the word play your've created with water–oceans, Islands, and all.


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