nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Last night, I watched Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters.  I first saw it years ago, and I so enjoyed revisiting it.  One of the particularly brilliant parts of the film is when Barbara Hershey’s character, Lee, reads out the e.e. cummings’ poem [somewhere i have never travelled].  The last line is the title of this post, as it struck me as such a beautiful line.  It inspired me to take some photos to accompany the poem here.  Let me know what you think.

Hands Study 1

Hands Study 3

Hands Study 6

[somewhere i have never travelled]

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

e.e. cummings

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January 27, 2008. Inspiration, Photography.

13 Comments

  1. Sumedh replied:

    great photographs. And of course, a great cummings’s piece.

  2. joker the lurcher replied:

    i love the photos. i have been asked to do some photos of someone who works with their hands and these have just the quality i hope to acheive

  3. Damien Riley replied:

    Hands are so personal. I enjoyed those pieces.

  4. hensteeth replied:

    I’m a nut for rose imagery in poetry. (Yes, Robert Burns “A Red, Red Rose” was my first and still is my best loved.) But I hadn’t run across this e.e. cummings piece before. Thank you for sharing.

  5. nicholas replied:

    Wonderful photos. And I like Barbara Hershey too!

  6. amypalko replied:

    Thanks, Sumedh! I’ve just checked out your photoblog and am in awe of your photography. Thoroughly recommend that everyone checks it out!

    Wow, that sounds like a great commission, Joker. Good luck with it and I hope you’re happy with the results 🙂

    They are, aren’t they, Damien. I love taking photos of hands.

    I wasn’t familiar with this poem either, Hensteeth, but I think it’s such a beautiful piece. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks Nicholas. Barbara’s great in that movie, isn’t she?

  7. Mike replied:

    The photos have a real intimate feel to them. It’s interesting to see what emotions hands can evoke.

    That is one of my favorite poems by e.e. cummings… I’ve always loved that last line.

  8. amypalko replied:

    Thank you Mike. Hands evoke a lot of emotion for me – I still have handprints that my kids did for me when they were tiny, and they’re just beautiful. It is a great poem, isn’t it! I wish I had known of it earlier. I might introduce my students to it this semester…

  9. toni replied:

    Oooh lovely lovely pictures!

    e.e. cummings has always been my favorite poet — he writes his words with such intimacy. With this poem, for example, I feel like I’m taking a peek into a conversation he is having with a lover. I love love love his work.

    Have you read “I carry your heart”? This is my all-time favorite e.e. cummings poem. I’d like to share it with you:

    i carry your heart with me

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

    — ee cummings

  10. amypalko replied:

    His poems do have great intimacy, don’t they, Toni? Thank you so much for sharing this poem here. It really is beautiful 🙂

  11. Julio replied:

    The reading of that poem in Hannah and her Sisters is without doubt the most memorable part of the movie. I just watched “In her Shoes” and truly enjoyed the Cameron Diaz character reading e.e. cummings,”i carry your heart” it had the same impact and will make that movie just as memorable. I googled it and that led me to search for “somewhere i have never traveled,” remembered only by its achingly beautiful last line. Your photographs are just as beautiful.

  12. Julio replied:

    Post Script: Although it’s been sometime since I viewed Hannah and her Sisters I seem to remember it differently from you. I believe it to be Michael Caine’s character and not Barbara Hershey’s that recited cummings’ poem.

  13. amypalko replied:

    Oh I love the inclusion of ‘i carry your heart’ in In Her Shoes, Julio. Such a great moment in the film. As for which character in Hannah and Her Sisters reads the poem – Lee definitely reads out some of it (see the youtube clip linked in the post), but I have a suspicion that Michael Caine’s character may read it aloud too. I’ll need to watch it again – perfect excuse!
    And btw, I’m not actually posting on this blog anymore as I’ve moved over to http://www.lessordinary.org.uk
    You’re more than welcome to join me over there!

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