Wednesday, December 6, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Beauty of Living: e. e. cummings in the Great War, excerpt ten)

from The Beauty of Living: e. e. cummings in the Great War by J. Alison Rosenblitt:

Berthe was no casual pickup. There was a genuine tenderness. Back in May, he had written a poem about her, in French, conceived through the terms of his Cubist experimentation. She was, in the language of the poem, stubborn but weary, with flesh that was green like a gourd, chewing a yellow rose between blue teeth, with red skin, heavy lips, and a mouth on fire. For her part, she cared enough about him to remember him when six months had passed, and to recognize him, changed as he was by the front and by his time in La FertĂ©-MacĂ©. They smoked a cigarette, drank Champagne, “and talked gradually of the war France death my prison, all pleasant things.”

At last, as he wrote to Brown, switching delicately to the French: “J’ai perdu quelque chose.” (I’ve lost something.)

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