Thursday, July 20, 2006

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

~ E. E. Cummings, 1956

The mystery that is identity is the focus of "Maggie, Milly, Molly, and May"; the four girls are described as who they are by what they find at the beach. The sing-song of the rhyme belies the deeper intent, which is that who we are determines what we seek out in life. What the girls find, in some sense, is predetermined by our own natures, for the objects retrieved are neutral. It is what we see in them that create their value. Or, as the last couplet concludes, "For whatever you lose (like a you or a me) / it's always ourselves we find in the sea."

~ Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno, E. E. Cummings: A Biography

(The poem and the biography excerpt were yesterday's and today's entries in my Page-A-Day Poetry Speaks Calendar.)


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8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey guys ! i wanna to keep u informed sth the more u read the poem the more u will like it .. the more u will analyse it the more u will be lost and the more u will be lost the more u will find cummings ideas ..but i dont think u will in eccumings kingdom coz it is extremely ur self and what we are on this life or what things are reflected in our bodies and souls

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:49 PM  

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