In the 1950s and 1960s Unitarianism was becoming Unitarian Universalism, and those people (quite a few of whom are still around) became interested in the literary movement of the Beats, and folk music, and coffee shops, and poets, and authors who thought poetically, like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. And the next wave of psychology. That and more was the milieu of religious liberals for a good 25 years. The hippies were a natural development and continuation, as we added the Civil Rights movement, and anti-war activity, and environmentalism ramped up.
e.e. cummings was a painter and poet of the previous generation, but he was part of the younger movements too. Born in the 1890s, the son of a Unitarian minister, in Cambridge, Mass., he died in 1962. One of cumming’s best-loved poems was then and still is i thank You God for most this amazing day. A lot of you know it well, but something this good should be read frequently, at least once a year. We happen to be at midsummer this week, and cummings’ poem fits delightfully. My Liberal Religious Youth group first heard it recited by a visiting Unitarian minister at our little Fellowship in the late 1950s.
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)