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The On Being Project

To Live and To Love in Birdsong

I’ve loved this poem ever since I was young. What’s not to love about e.e. cummings? Now that I’m no longer young, I love it even more! This is the kind of old man I want to be:

One who stays young because he listens for whatever birdsong has to teach him…

One who’s always open to being wrong, “even if it’s sunday.”

One who loves life, the world, wilderness, and people of all sorts like a windblown fool.

I know I’ve got a long way to go. But on my good days, I find the journey as joyful as the destination!


by e.e. cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile.

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