Writing Inspiration: E.E. Cummings on Spring

Spring has always served as a major source of inspiration for writers. The sense of renewal in the air convinces us to pick up old projects and throw ourselves into fresh ones. The days are longer. The chatter of birds greets us in the mornings. The start of the season inspires nostalgia, gratitude, optimism, and reflection.† All of this gets the creative juices flowing.

Iconic American poet E.E. Cummings captured the essence of the season in several of his most beloved works.† Below, weíve rounded up three of our favorites. Each one manages to conjure up the distinct aura that accompanies spring. †Cummings employs different techniques in these three pieces to bring to life the sounds and images that characterize the season.† Reading (and learning from) them is the perfect way to celebrate spring and the clean slate it provides for writers.

Writing Inspiration: E.E. Cummings on Spring

when faces called flowers float out of the ground†

when faces called flowers float out of the ground?and breathing is wishing and wishing is having ñ?but keeping is downward and doubting and never?ñ itís april( yes, april; my darling)itís spring!?yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly?yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be?(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound?and wishing is having and having is giving ñ?but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense?ñ alive: weíre alive, dear: itís(kiss me now)spring!?now the pretty birds hover so she and so he?now the little fish quiver so you and so i?(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found?and having is giving and giving is living ñ?but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing?ñ itís spring(all our night becomes day)o,itís spring!?all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky?all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea?(all the mountains are dancing; are dancing)

spring is like perhaps a hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand

(which comes carefully

out of Nowhere)arranging

a window,into which people look(while

people stare

arranging and changing placing

carefully there a strange

thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps

Hand in a window

(carefully to

and from moving New and

Old things,while

people stare carefully

moving a perhaps

fraction of flower here placing

an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

In Just-

in Just-

spring††††††††† when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles††††††††† far††††††††† and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s


when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far††††††††† and†††††††††††† wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




† † † † †the


balloonMan††††††††† whistles




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