Barring the Mind

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – “Somewhere in the midst of Stirring April”  – (posted by Sanaa)

The Mind Is Its Own Beautiful Prisoner

the mind is its own beautiful prisoner.
Mine looked long at the sticky moon
opening in dusk her new wings

then decently hanged himself, one afternoon.

The last thing he saw was you
naked amid unnaked things,

your flesh, a succinct wand-like animal,
a little strolling with the futile purr
of blood; your sex squeaked like a billiard-cue
chalking itself, as not to make an error,
with twists spontaneously methodical.
He suddenly tasted worms windows and roses

he laughed, and closed his eyes as a girl closes
her left hand upon a mirror.

by ee cummings

“Cummings exhibited an ongoing interest in both love and the erotic as a subject in both his writing and his painting. As a painter, he dedicated a separate series of paintings each to nudes, burlesques, and to lovers.

As a poet, he was a sensitive and supple writer who ferreted out distinguishing nuances in relation to love and its complements unlove and lust. The poem speaks of a man who has lost his lover and covers various themes such as loss, betrayal, paradoxical dichotomy and mental self-imprisonment.

Our frame of reference is the title of Cummings’s poem. Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred. I look forward to reading what you guys come up with.”

Your mind is self-imprisoned,
new thoughts are turned away
by you. Afraid to run out
of space? If that is the case,
I can assure you that you are
not using half of it now. Open
your mind like petals of peonies.
Maybe you will discover your
core, and know there are more
haven’t-dones than dones.
Experiment. Remove the bars.

About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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10 Responses to Barring the Mind

  1. Jim says:

    Oow, Kim, be careful. Sounds like you are about to run him/her off. I would take the hint even if love was strong (other fish in the pond).


  2. mhmp77 says:


    Open your mind like petals of peonies.
    Maybe you will discover your core,

    Yes Sara, if only one cares to be more outward to embrace other ideas and make discoveries it would be a nice world to live in



  3. kim881 says:

    I love the imperative ‘Open your mind like petals of peonies’ and the image it evokes, Sara.


  4. sanaarizvi says:

    This is soo gorgeously worded, Sara! ❤️ I love; “Open your mind like petals of peonies.” 🙂 Thank you so much for adding your voice to the prompt.


  5. Yes, I do believe that, as we are often told, we only use a fraction of the mind’s potential. But how to access the rest? (Some ways of experimenting can be dangerous … though I doubt that’s what you meant.)


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