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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

National Poetry Month: E.E. Cummings, All in green went my love riding

I was first exposed to E.E. Cummings in high school. His poems were radical - the nonstandard capitalization! The rhythm without rhyme! I had never heard such a thing before, and it made me realize that poems didn't have to rhyme - or play by the rules.

Garrison Keillor read this poem on The Writer's Almanac on October 12, 2012. His reading begins at about 2:40.


All in green went my love riding
by E. E. Cummings

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the merry deer ran before.

Fleeter be they than dappled dreams
the swift sweet deer
the red rare deer.

Four red roebuck at a white water
the cruel bugle sang before.

Horn at hip went my love riding
riding the echo down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the level meadows ran before.

Softer be they than slippered sleep
the lean lithe deer
the fleet flown deer.

Four fleet does at a gold valley
the famished arrow sang before.

Bow at belt went my love riding
riding the mountain down
into the silver dawn.

four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
the sheer peaks ran before.

Paler be they than daunting death
the sleek slim deer
the tall tense deer. 

Four tall stags at the green mountain
the lucky hunter sang before. 

All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn. 

Four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

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