For today’s Poetically Speaking post I’m looking at “let it go” by ee cummings.
I first heard this poem in my tenth grade English class. My teacher said it was one of her favorite poems and read it aloud to us. I was in the thick of poetry writing at this time having first discovered my passion for it in an elective class the year before.
I didn’t know much about cummings at the time but even when I first heard it, I knew this post was going to leave a mark.
let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to
let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
so comes love
Back then that second stanza is the one that really spoke to me. Now, years later, it still is as I try to figure out who exactly I am going to choose to have as part of my life.
I’m not always very sentimental. I like grand gestures and movie moments but they somehow always fall apart in the final crucial stage. I don’t have any childhood friends I keep in touch with and, thanks to my absence from Facebook, I cant boast any lasting high school friendships or even that many from college.
I used to think that was my fault but I’ve started to realize it’s not that simple. I’ve started to wonder if letting people go isn’t the natural thing after all.
In this poem cummings talks a lot about letting things go. He urges readers to abandon the truthful liars and the false fair friends. He says they were born to let go. It’s easy, then, to start to think of this as a lonely poem by focusing on all of the things being lost or abandoned.
But then cummings throws in that last line “so comes love” which changes everything.
It’s easy to choose the people to let go from your life. The ones who bring no joy. The friends you have nothing in common with anymore. The people who know too much about you or perhaps just the ones who saw you through an awful time.
This poems stops short of the next part–the really important aspect of letting go. After you let those things and people go, it’s time to choose what to keep. Who are you going to hold close? Who do you want beside you in the next chapter of your story? Who do you refuse to let go?
Letting people go, letting things go, moving and changing are all natural. It’s what happens when you live long enough. Letting go of those unimportant things you were never meant to keep is also how you decide what does matter and what you will hold close forever–or at least for right now.
In a world where so many things are fleeting or temporary, you can’t hold onto everything. You have to let some things go. You have to choose. And, as ee cumming said, after you learn how to do that “so comes love” and whatever else might follow.
Talk to me about your favorite poems or poetic forms in the comments and be sure to check back every day this April for more poetry-related posts and guest posts.