the archivist July 25, 2006

when serpents bargain

e.e. cummings

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage–
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
–and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn–valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude–and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we’ll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind(and not until)




ee cummings
Appears in E.E. Cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever amzn | library