Fine Books & Manuscripts
Cummings, Edward Estlin (1894-1962) Unpublished Manuscript Poem Signed with an "E," 30 August 1916.
Single page. Removed from a shipboard guest book belonging to Dr. James Sibley Watson Jr. (1894-1982) and Hildegarde Lasell Watson (1888-1976),their signatures preceded his poem, two names appear on the verso, lightly toned around the edges, good, 9 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.
James Sibley Watson Jr. and Cummings graduated together at Harvard in the year this poem was penned, and remained lifelong friends. The poem is signed with Cummings's characteristically formed first initial; it is seemingly unpublished and was likely produced extemporaneously on the day of their marine outing.
"As if the momentarily incautious reed
Whence trembled a world's doubtful soul and dim
Should once remember the swift sylvan whim
Of the first poet, --her spirit doth proceed
From impertinent original deed
Of the old maker, ocean; to whose slim
Smooth body dawn uplifts a golden hymn,
The younger stars recite their beckoning creed.
This is her very self; wherefrom now springs
The precise epic of amazing sun,
Now the white lyric of the waking storm;
Upon whose symmetry fleet hours perform
Continuing miracle; her soul being one
With beauty of all unbelievèd things."
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