on poetry

“so far as i am concerned, poetry and every other art was and is and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality…poetry is being, not doing. if you wish to follow, even at a distance, the poet’s calling (and here, as always, i speak from my own totally biased and entirely personal point of view) you’ve got to come out of the measurable doing universe into the immeasurable house of being…nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. toms can be dicks and dicks can be harrys, but none of them can ever be you. there’s the artist’s responsibility; and the most awful responsibility on earth. if you can take it, take it—and be. if you can’t, cheer up and go about other people’s business; and do (or undo) till you drop.”

—ee cummings

I heard this poem read today and it had me stop in my tracks. It put into words what I’ve been feeling of late but unable to articulate. This year has been dominated by frantically doing and undoing. It’s exhausting.

I’m choosing a word for the day, a single word to change the game for the next 11 hours: Breathe.

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