The Comfort of Poetry: “i thank You God for most this amazing day” by e. e. cummings

Tomorrow is the first day for teachers of the 2010 – 2011 school year.  I have a wickedly specific case of “last-day-of-summer-vacation” angst coupled with the more general overlay of Sunday blues, so I’ve been cleaning out my desk at home vainly attempting to push aside lists of other things I have to do and didn’t get done over the long, lazy days of July.

Serendipitously I stumbled across a scribbled note to myself on the back of a Sur & Plus Pure Architectural Living, Rambla sofa product sheet for a sofa Aaron and I saw in a shop window in Leiden last spring and never looked at again (couldn’t afford it if we had loved it, which we didn’t thank goodness).  I had written: “i thank You God for most this amazing day”, Eric Whitacre, ee cummings poem”…three or four lines, hurriedly written and shoved into the top right-hand corner in my usual scrawled writing. I remember now hearing Eric Whitacre’s setting for the poem sung by a choir on our favorite NPR station, Classical Minnesota Public Radio, and it had moved me to tears one morning over coffee with it’s thankful beauty and pure expressed faith in the present moment containing all we need to be comforted and content.

Despair not is the message here from my past self to me today, this day is perfect just as it is no matter the undone to-dos and the lurking worries about beginning the new school year:

“i thank You God for most this amazing”

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

And here the ears of your ears can hear e. e. cummings magically read the poem in 1953:

And here the eyes of your eyes can see Eric Whitacre’s amazing setting of the poem performed in 1999 by the Dutch VU-Kamercoor: