[since feeling is first]
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
It’s the first of the year, so a poem that includes “first” in its first line seems appropriate.
For years, starting with an unfortunate foray into “anyone lived in a pretty how town” with a dreadful textbook and checked-out teacher, I was turned off by Cummings’s unconventional punctuation, phrasing, linebreaks, and structure. But now, firmly ensconced in my late twenties, life looks a little more messy than it did at sixteen, and so I rather like the way the lines of this poem splay across the page. I like that I’m left wondering what the “best gesture” of the speaker’s brain might be.