anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem anyone lived in a pretty how town


  1. Hector M. Barrientos says:

    I have taught this poem to 2nd, 2rd, and 5th graders. It is simply my favorite poem. Once as a final leeson on the last day of school, I was reciting this gorgeous poem to my class and I was so caught up that I broke down emotionally . . . just as my principal walked into my classroom! She said not to worry, that kids need to see that poetry can move a grown man.

  2. story says:


  3. kristianna sierra says:

    Mrs.Bangert, this is practice:
    I like how it makes me think. I like having to decifer it, and how it lists the times of year. I’ll get more into it with lit terms and what not after I make sure this will work.

  4. Tim says:

    Read more carefully before you go off on someone.
    David, I totally agree.

  5. Veronica says:

    i believe this poem to be amazing. Most of his work is extremely sexual, (this one only alludes to it somewhat,) but what he says about love and life. The people who can get something from his creativity and allow it to inspire and change them are truly blessed.

  6. chi lan cho says:

    i read this and it reminds of how bad japan is they can suck it

  7. asialane says:

    I read the poems of cummings to my children when they were just tads. They loved them, especially this one and in just spring. Then I found his Fairy Tales. Perhaps there are many adults who “down they forgot as up they grew” but my children understood and thanked me for giving them the gift of cummings.

  8. myob says:

    i have to write a research paper on this guy and i sware i am going to die because it is so boring ow can you write 5 pages on some poet who wrote about stupid boring things and lived a boring life aghhhhhhhh

  9. Jade says:


  10. Ashley says:

    I agree. He takes fairly large johnsons up the ass. lmfao

  11. Michael Pelz-Sherman says:

    I set this poem to music (for a cappella vocal ensemble) in 1984; you can listen to a recording of this piece here:

  12. ani hovhannisyan says:

    i read in ‘the poetry and pose of ee cummings’ by robert e wegner, that this poem refers to his father. you see, he loved his father very much and considered him to be a very wise, and gentile man; hence writing this poem about him.

    this remains to be my favorite poem, and is next to my bed. for the first week i had it up, i would read it every night and cry. it is a very touching poem :]

  13. Mike says:

    My teacher introduced this to us a couple weeks ago and I dont really understand it but i like it

  14. sally e ripkin says:

    the poem was amazing

  15. Faith says:

    This is just my take: “anyone” refers to a man whom the town didn’t understand. He lived in a way separate from the rest of them – rejoicing in the little things like snow falling and the changing of the seasons. The children see that “noone” (a woman) loves “anyone” but lose sight of that love once they grow into the stern countenances of their forbears; they learn to ignore the magic of the pure love the strange couple share. Cummings goes on to describe the way they lived their lives – one unto the other “she laughed his joy she cried his grief”. They live in harmony – as unlikely complements, one to the other. “bird by snow and stir by still”. The next paragraph seems to imply that the townspeople lived not for their spouses, but for the community “someones married their everyones” – they mimic the happy couple’s adoration but in way that seems contrived, and, in truth, joyless. “anyone” and “noone” die and the speaker describes the difference in the way they go on in death compared to how everyone else goes on in life “they dream their sleep” compared to the bloodless “they slept their dream”. Cummings concludes the poem with the image of the solid townspeople go on about their business, never ceasing in their work, never stopping to think and admire the marvel of the steady path that time trods or to mourn the loss of so great a love – one that they must have envied even if they never understood it.

  16. Joyce S. Boadi says:

    I have always loved this poem since i was first introduced to it by my literature tutor in 1973 in high school. it has always struck me as beautiful in an odd sort of way and it is full of pathos too!

  17. Jill says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of delving into Cummings lately, and this poem stuck out to me (along with ‘since feeling is first’, look into that one as well.) This particular poem just looked like a parallel to what anyone’s life could be. you, me, anyone. Try inserting yourself into the character ‘anyone’s place and try seeing his life. It becomes an interesting perspective on what the poem could be trying to tell us: that this could really be anyone and no-one’s life.

  18. Joe Barr says:

    One of my favorites by this master. The stark differences between the lovers, equated with not just the natural rythms of the seasons and of life, but kissed with the greatest of blessings, earth by april and if by yes, and those poor, self-important someones, out of kilter with the earth and with nature owing to their own self-inflated egos, living in a town concerned with false appearances, is immense.

    Which would you rather be? Which would you rather be loved by?

  19. Lisa says:

    This poem is just how it sounds- nice and quaint and almost cute to read first (thought maybe confusing), but then it is something else when you read it. The city they live in seems nice, but evryone is concerned with themselves, sowing seeds of negativity (which will of course reproduce and multiply… perhaps law of attraction?) And because of this, the people have become greedy bastards (sorry) and they ignore what has become of anybody. The children recognise anyone and see what they are destined to grow out of- they see love. Perhaps imagination. Above all, they see what is happening. But they are consumed by the negativity and give in to it. I think though it can be a negative poem, it is also uplifting if you shift the light and maybe decide to learn from it.

    Or, at least, that is my take on the poem.

  20. kathatrina blum says:

    if you paraphrase the poem it says noone loves anyone. all the persons appearing in this poem are substituted by pronouns -> everybody is interchangeble; individualty doesn´t exist or at least doesn´t matter in the world of the lyrical I.
    also the words stars, rain, moon are constantly mentioned. they repeat in the same manner the men and women repeat their actons. nothing changes throungh noone´s or anyone´s death.

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