The North Carolina Experiment

From Blogger’s Blogger of Note section, I found this beautifully designed and well written site this morng: The North Carolina Experiment. From there, I came across another lovely site Anyone’s Any, where I saw the following poem by e.e. cummings.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

I was introduced to e. e. cummings by my first English teacher, Mr. Brunn, five months after I came to the States. He was an elderly gentleman, romantic and a bit eccentric, who also introduced me to the movies The Blade Runner and Shane. I’ve often wondered what had made him give me those extra homeworks then, a girl who was only capable of mono-syllable answers sprinkled with “Pardon me?”s. For every video tape he lent me, I was supposed to write a review in exchange. The Blade Runner was a hard one. I had to pause every ten minutes and replay to decipher what had been said. Our tv didn’t have closed caption feature either. Afterwards, I would compose my paper in Chinese and then painstakingly translating it word by word into English with the help of a dictionary. He seemed to be pleased with my effort, and continued lending me video tapes. At the end of the semester he gave me a piece of paper that beared a poem, typed typed double space with a typewriter. It was an rather obscure poem by e.e. cummings. The only line I remembered now was “the girl is tomorrow, we belong to yesterday”.

The following semester I started my official college life at the main campus. I tried to look him up once after I have transfered from City College to Berkeley. I called up the community college branch where he was working and asked for him. The receiptionist told me there was no such person working there anymore. I guessed he had retired.

I hope he is well.