Amores XI: O Distinct

By e e cummings

O Distinct
Lady of my unkempt adoration
if I have made
a fragile curtain

song under the window of your soul
it is not like any songs
(the singers the others
they have been faithful

to many things and which
die
i have been sometimes true
to Nothing and which lives

they were fond of the handsome
moon never spoke ill of the
pretty stars and to
the serene the complicated

and the obvious
they were faithful
and which i despise,
frankly

admitting i have been true
only to the noise of worms
in the eligible day
under the unaccountable sun)

Distinct Lady
swiftly take
my fragile certain song
that we may watch together

how behind the doomed
exact smile of life’s
placid obscure palpable
carnival where to a normal

melody of probable violins dance
the square virtues with the oblong sins
perfectly
gesticulate the accurate

strenuous lips of incorruptible
Nothing under the ample
sun, under the insufficient
day under the noise of worms

This poem was originally published in cummings’ work Tulips & Chimneys in 1923. It is now in the public domain. It forms part of a series of “Amores” influenced by and named after works by Ovid. (Note: in the original publication of this collection, the publisher refused to acquiesce to cummings’ desire to have the title use an ampersand. Some volumes will therefore use the fully spelled-out title Tulips and Chimneys.)

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