My one day as a poetry teacher

E.-E.-Cummings-150x150In tenth grade, I convinced my teacher to let me do a unit on poetry.  I started with this poem by e. e. cummings, which is labeled simply “20” in his 100 selected poems, which I still have.

It is battered and dogeared. I was very fond of it for many years, although it has now been more years since I have opened it.

20

she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff I was
careful of her and (having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch (and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell) next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg.       ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning) just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good

                              (it
was the first ride and believe I we was
happy to see how nice and acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens I slammed on
the

internalexpanding
&
externalcontracting
breaks Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
-ling
to a:dead.

stand-
;Still)

e. e. cummings

The teacher, unfortunately, understood the poem, and though the class responded enthusiastically to it, my poetry seminar was summarily cancelled.

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