Uncle Sol

“nobody loses all the time”

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle

and started a worm farm)

e. e. cummings (1923–


Uncle Sol is one of those poetic characters! Try reading this aloud to somebody and see how the voice of the narrator also emerges–both matter of factly and humorously and also splendidly with asides and commentary–“we all cried like the Missouri” and “that is or to wit”.  I love his compulsive starting of farms and his willingness to embrace new projects after the previous one fails.   The mordant ending implies that Uncle Sol is successful with his worm farm (because nobody loses all of the time!).

Music experimentation day:  I listened to John Cage:  Sonatas and Interludes.  Much more pleasant than I would have predicted but probably best for background music whilst doing other things.  It’s not divine, but it’ll do.

Note the 1939 self-portrait by ee cummings.  Most of his work is in bright colors, but he chooses more subdued neutrals for his self-image.


Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

6 thoughts on “Uncle Sol”

    1. I do also. There are very few well-known poets from the past with whom I cannot find anything to like or admire. I like best some of the e.e. cummings poems that are not very well-known (or not anthologized). I cannot think of a major poet who does not do something for me. Of course some of them do more than others. Of course my job is to approach the poem with a good attitude and a willingness to engage in the terrain of the poem and its language.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my goodness, a talented artist as well as poet! I love that self-portrait. And I do love the poem and mus t read more Cummings. Chickens do eat vegetables (I think).


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