i thank You God for most this amazing (2021)

Summer 2021-

i thank You God for most this amazing is an E. E. Cummings poem that was originally published in 1950. The text is a breathless celebration of and reflection on both the natural beauty of the Earth and a divine presence revealed through humanity itself. The speaker ebulliently gives thanks for “the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky” before going on to invoke the celestial in the subsequent stanza, describing the occasion as a celebration of “the sun’s birthday.” One of the most recognizable aspects of Cummings’ writing is his idiosyncratic phrasing, punctuation, and capitalization, and several intentional choices were made in the piece to incorporate these idiosyncrasies compositionally.

When I was considering potential texts for my next choral piece, this one resonated with me more than any other options due to one line. At the start of the second stanza, Cummings writes “i who have died am alive again today.” With the world embarking on its gradual emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, this poem’s sense of reemergence from past tribulations is a particularly encapsulating sentiment for the times we find ourselves in. Furthermore, the poem’s celebration of celestial and earthly wonders extends to the earth’s inhabitants. Cummings’ insistence on feeling a spiritual connection and reverence for his fellow man is an ever-pertinent reminder of how we are to move forward as a society with humanity’s best interests in mind. Ultimately, this poem serves as an impassioned celebration of the world’s inherent triumphs, joys, and goodness, from a universal scale to a personal scale, and it is my hope that this piece does justice to the heart of Cummings’ intentions regarding the poem. – Benjamin Carter

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any- lifted from the no
of all nothing- human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Performance is from the 2021 University of Louisville New Music Festival, featuring the UofL Collegiate Chorale under the direction of Dr. Kent Hatteberg.

Soprano Soloist- Sarah Byrd

Tenor Soloist- Matthew Houston