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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

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem maggie and milly and molly and may

128 Comments

  1. Katy says:

    Such a great poem with a great meaning.I just love it:)

  2. Guido says:

    Natalie Merchant has put this beautiful poem to music in her extraordinary album “Leave your Sleep”. Well worth a listen.

  3. Sharo says:

    Learned of this poem when i was a little girl and it always seemed a little sad to me. Given the environmental desaster of the gusher in our Gulf, this poem has another layer of meaning and makes me even more sad when i read it today.

  4. alan peanuts says:

    this poem makes no sense to me at alll. I HATE IT!!!!

  5. Anna says:

    This is by far my favorite poem!

  6. coco** says:

    this poem is really cool!! i LOOOOOVVVVEEE how it rhymes! irs so unique i love it!

  7. colo says:

    what is this poem about? why aren’t the lines and the names of the pople capatilized and what does the last stanza mean?

  8. Lydia says:

    the more i research this dance for my AS level, there more i am growing to love it
    im basing each section aound each of the girls personalities, i cannt wait to get started.

    i am the only person in my class doing the poem! almost everyone is doing the music.
    my only problem now is trying to get some music to fit in with how i want the dance to come out!
    has anyone got any advise on music they would like to tell me? it would be greatly appreciated!

    x x x

  9. yassin says:

    this poem is so interesting.it reveals the reality of our world in a poetique way.thanks cummings

  10. mitchell says:

    This poem is about molly drowning at the beach. The horrible thing that chased her was a wave. What the other girls found is their reaction to the death of molly.

  11. cassandra says:

    the ocean symbolizes a persons own mind and emotions and how you only have to look into your own soul to truely find yourself. cummings says, “as small as a world and as large as alone” to specify the complexities of the human soul.

  12. Erika Roybal says:

    This poem was very touching. It was a little bit on the confusing side, so I had to read it a few times. To me this poem shows that even if you are having a bad day, it is the little things in life that matter, it is not always the big things. Even the smallest things can help brighten your day,like for Maggie it was a shell that sang.

  13. Alyssa says:

    In my Literature Honors class we’re studying poetry and this poem was in our textbook. When we first read it, we immediately thought, “Oh, it’s just a poem about four girls having fun at the sea.” However, once the teacher went over it in depth, lightbulbs began to flash.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this poem, because it gave me a glimmmer of hope when I was having such a horrible day.

    (:

  14. dynamyte says:

    this poem showed me how to relive the good times and forget the bad times. it went deep

  15. strawberry shortcake says:

    this poem helps you to realize that you can get lost at sea, and still enjoy yourself. this poem is a great way to share that people can have different sides of themselves, and that everyone has a part of them that is a kid. great job Mr. Cummings!!!

  16. Peter says:

    Good to see that this amazing program is actually being taught, but there are clearly some who don’t see the main point of the poem: what each girl finds is a reflection of herself. And isn’t that what we all find in life?

  17. MOLLY says:

    I LOVE THIS POEM!!! IT IS MY FAVORITE OF YOURS!!!!

  18. charlotte says:

    i did the exam yesterday and i totally blagged it made half of it up and i think it went ok actually lol. can some one tell me what you think each chid means im stuck
    thanks

  19. Brittany says:

    I am doing a research paper on this poem, and i need to find literary criticisms on it. I love this poem, but i have to find out what others think of it. Any suggestions

  20. Becca says:

    I’ve jsut done the poem for my AS level Dance (just this second finished the coursework =]). Love this poem, it was great to do the work on it. For everyone doing the exam, good luck! And for everyone who’s already done it, I hope it went wel for you!

  21. Hannah says:

    Hye i’m also doing this poem for my As Dance level and i did some research about this poem and think it may be about a lonely schizophrenic girl. Hope thats helpful. Good Luck everyone

  22. steph says:

    hey…..im doing this poem for my AS dance solo and im having real trouble finding music for this as is everyone else from what i have read but if anyone has any ideas can they let me no would really appreciate it!! [= good luck everyone!! xxx

  23. Homie J says:

    I think that its great I think that it shows what we do to release stress what do you think? I also like it because of the philosophy at the end.

  24. frankie g says:

    this poem is amazing. it is beutifully written about 4 girls and a philosophy at the end. it is beutiful!

  25. kate says:

    When was this poem written??

  26. katy says:

    hey our question paper had the option maggie milly molly may but i chose bahrata natyam and i really had a hard time fifnding music for that also i have just perofrmed it to the examiner it was 4 counts to fat at the end which made me angry but i tried to improvise hehe !

  27. Miki says:

    i’m doing this poem for my as solo! does any one know n e good web sites i can find more information on it or any suggestions for music ect.

  28. Liz says:

    Im also doing this dance for AS solo and am having real trouble with the music because my teacher wont let us use anything with a beat or lyrics or anything that sounds remotely good! im just wondering if anyone at other schools is allowed to do whatever music they like?

  29. me :D says:

    again another dancer!- i just want to wish every one the very best of luck for their exam and i hope whateva question u all decide to choose i reli hope it goes well :> dont let nerves get the better of you-go for it-show the world that the 16/17/18 year old dancers are going to be the next big thing 🙂 go dancers go!!! xxxx

  30. Dani says:

    hey im also i A level student and chose to do this poem as my option, i have figured out a couple of motifs which i could do but i am nt sure of the music that i could use any body got any sugestions?? plz help!! x x x

  31. Paul Solomon says:

    I love this poem. For me it shows how our inner emotional world creates the world we find outside ourself. Knowing this gives us choice and freedom: we choose what kind of worlds we create, both inside our deepest self and with other people.

  32. Natty says:

    We as a class have started really late on ours and i mean like last week! Everyones comments have been so good, as it has given me an insight into what i can do! But has anyone else found the questions this year really random and hard to do? I do like this poem and after looking at it for longer, i apresheate what it means. For example my ideas is that two of the girls are like children and how they view the world, and the other two are more like the adults point of view on the world, so i am going to focus on this in my dance

  33. Shorty says:

    Hey im a AS studen too.. and ive been lookin at your comments n thanku..it’s given me the confidence to carry on with the question..i hav’nt done much at all yet as i jus changed my question to this poem. But i hav chosen some music which i think will work..it’s by Alsaints- pure shores..i think thats what it’s called. it’s from that movie..the Beach. hope dats ok. Thnx guys! XxXxX

  34. Sam Scott says:

    This is one of my favorite poems. It was my dad’s favorite poem, and he passed away a little while back, so this poem has burrowed itself like a clam in my chest, and each time I read it I feel the sea swell into my eyes, and my heart breaks a million times over…

  35. Hollie says:

    iv choosen the poem as my AS dance stimulus. Having completed my dance i now have the task of fitting music to it iv found that a good song is hold tight by the chemical brothers, it has an underlying beat and a solo voice, you can change the dynamics of your dance very easily by switchiing between following the rhythm of the beat or the solo voice. might be some help to you.
    good luck!
    hollie x

  36. rajni says:

    This is a great poem commenting on what life has to offer us. Here cummings has taken the example of the sea to tell us it’s worth. The sea has so much to offer. It is a place to relax for some while for others it’s a ‘dangerous’ place. However, through the children characters, cummings is trying to explain that exploration is the answer to a lot of questions regarding life. Life is to be lived fully and we need to work out reasons for the way we think and behave. Life isn’t always ‘rosey’ as milly and molly experience but it could be funful according to maggie and may. Your concept of life is based on your emotions and experiences-good or bad.

  37. Emiily says:

    Hi
    I’m doing this question for AS dance as well but I’m finding it really hard to find the right music. Does anyone have any idea what music to use?
    Thanks

  38. Sarah says:

    obviously another dancer, thought id give my input. basically what im doing, is taking each character and giving them a different personality, so scared, happy, sad etc. and portraying these personalities through movement. the sea, being a recurring theme in the poem will be a recurring theme in the dance. I am going to make up a section for the sea, and repeat it after every character, so the dance will be in rondeaux form – a b a c a d e etc… i have also got one motif which i start off with, and then repeat it in every section with developments…for instance my character for may is a sad one, so i will perform the phrase maybe more slowly and with smaller movements, maybe floorwork.
    this is such a hard question to put into movement, obviously there are lots of ideas about what the poem means, but to put it into movement is a different matter. this probably hasn’t helped anybody…but i guess its a good idea to know how other people are handling the question….good luck everyone!
    xxxxx

  39. chair says:

    hey peeps,
    i chose this one 2. i couldn’t decide what 2 make of this poem + my latest idea is that the 1 speaker is in turmoil with herself and how she endeavours to cope with these strong, almost sctizophrenic (soz spelling!) trates of personality but im totally baffled by the end line what do you think peeps? ps monica think your interpretations are tres good 🙂 xxxx

  40. Emily says:

    Hey yup as level dance student and i have chosen this poem. I think there are four separate girls each who deal with theair problems in a different way. I got stressed out too and my teacher just told me to go and paddle in the sea! It really helped. I am trying to come up with a motif for “and” because I think it is significant. I also think this poem is about death and grief and getting through the different stages, ignoring it, running away from it, confronting it and finally getting through it. I have made some of my movements very childlike, eg head tilts focus down, etc. I would be grateful for anyone else’s help. Thanks

  41. the jens says:

    WEll………..HELP!!!!!
    me and jen cant find any research on this damn poem, it just tells us the poem, and gives us no information on the structurew themes and main ideas etc…
    But overal, a lovely poem which can b well interpretated into an A* Dance…LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!
    good luck with yours
    love jen and jen
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

  42. monica says:

    My interpretaion of this poem is that the speaker has lost herself. maggie, milly, molly, and may are the speakers attempts to find herself. In Maggie the speaker tried to drown out her troubles with a sweet song, which I take to mean that instead of dealing with her issues she igonored them and only payed attention to the things she could deal with. In Milly the speaker finds a star that is not where it belongs and it has lost its spirit; it has become weak. I think this is how the speaker feels, stuck somewhere she doesn’t belong and unable to do anything about it. In Molly the speaker’s worst fear comes true: that she cannot solve her problem, that it will destroy her. What sticks out to me the most is that May is the only one that “came home”. In May, the speaker figures it out. She “came home with a smooth round stone”. Stones become smooth and round after years of being hit by water. She has found herself! She is a product of all her experiences, she was molded over time. However, this “her” she found is alone, and that feeling makes the size of the world seem like nothing. She found herself at the sea, the sea being her thinking over her experinces and her life as a whole. That’s why she went to the beach in the first place. The beach is a place where she can think about her life (represented by the sea) and find her answer.

  43. ellen says:

    im doing this poem for my AS DANCE too, has anyone made a start on it yet? Ive got quite a few ideas, motifs and steps and thought we could exchange ideas.

  44. Maimoona Peart says:

    I am doing this 4 AS level dance and so far enjoy it we have only just started and am finding it really to come up the music.

  45. Dolly says:

    Hey, I am a AS Dance student, I have piked this poem but I am stuck on weather Maggie and Milly and Molly and May are 4 girls or only 1 with different personalites. Plus does any1 know the real meaning to this poem?

  46. Vivien says:

    hey, I’m doing this poem too for my As dance and I am so stuck cud you guys help me with my motifs. I got so strssed out in my dance sibject that I started crying. I just don’t know what to do. I have a little bit of motif for the smooth round stone which is just rubbinf different parts of my body but my dance teacher said it doesn’t really come across as smooth… PLEASE HELP ME! xxx

  47. Emily says:

    hi
    yes once again i am an A level dance student too! i am going to use the poem as my stimulus and i am hoping to use american hifi, its not easy being me. but not sure because the music has lyrics in it. i interpreted the poem as being about someone who doesnt want to let go of their chilhood and liked the idea of structuring the dance like a song,A B A C D structure. wat do you think mail me!
    happy moving.

  48. Claire says:

    hiya. im studying A level dance aswell and i think this poem is a great option. Cummings life is very complex and his style of writing is so unique. i was considering using a piece of music based on the sea as each character shows their emotions or relationships with the sea and what they get from it. i think there are alot of hidden meanings and i was an excellent stimulus for my choreography.

  49. Kat says:

    im doin alevel dance aswell n coniderin this question. i love it n was the 1st thing that jumped out at me. theres summit twited about it but i cant figure out what. xx

  50. Daniel says:

    maggie and milly and molly and may…. could they be four people or could they be just one person.

    Another point, the names maggie and miller etc are never written in capital letters as they should do, so has Cummings wrote this poem from a childs point of view, an example of this is on stanza four when Cummings writes “and molly was chased by a horrible thing” Adults generally would’nt say this so was this poem written from a childs point of view.

    Is this poem based on memories or lonliness?

    As for music i have no idea, although myself and two other people have suggested a song by Norah Jones

    This was probably no help to anybody but anyway happy dancing and good luck with the exam in April

  51. lynn says:

    hi,i am a dance student too and i am thinking about doing this question. But id like some more information on its backround, and what sort of music should i play? x

  52. Jemima says:

    I really like the thought of doing this poem for as dance but would really appreciate a little background on it and some suggestions for some music as iam also finding this quite hard to find! thank you very much! jemima x

  53. Nicola says:

    im studying this question 4 my AS dance but am really stuck on movements and action, weve been given some useful information about the poem, saying that there were a number of topics it could have been based upon. I want to ask what others feel it is based on as we have been told it’s about aliens, love/ sex, schkitophrenia, war or growing up and remembering loved ones that have passed on.
    so plz could ppl tell me wot they think its bout as i dnt really no wot topic 2 chose
    Thanx nicola

  54. michelle says:

    hya i have chosen the poem question as well and i am struggling on a piece of music to go with the poem i dont have a clue.my thoughts are that you will always stay friends with close ones but as long as your find yourslf with time alone such as thy go down to the beach together but have thier own adventures become themselves and showing thier difrent intrests.if any1 can help me with my problem please email me or sometihing.thank youxx

  55. Lottie says:

    Heya, i am aother dance student making a solo to this poem and have spent hours trying to find inspiring yet practical music that relates to the poem. Ive heard that a song was actually composed about this poem but i cant get hold of it. I was jst wondering what other people’s music choices are like? Thanks for your help…

  56. Zoe says:

    Hi, Yeh i am another AS dance student, and i really like the idea of choreographing a dance to this poem. I thought maybe that this poem has a number of people, for example sisters or close friends, all going on an adventure.. and where it says “may comes home with a smooth round stone” im thinking this person likes to keep memory to where she has been. I also feel that this poem is very relaxing and has a particular message for the reader.. but i am currently trying to find that out!! GD LUCK ALL THE AS DANCERS CHOOSING THIS QUESTION FOR THEIR EXAM PIECE xx

  57. Abigail says:

    Youve probli guessed but I am also a dance AS student theres some realli great ideas here which are really helpful, does anybody know any websites for the other questions?…

    Thanx and Good Luck…..

  58. Loz says:

    Hi. I am another AS student that is looking at this question for the final piece. My idea of the poem is that they could be all one person with different personalities or feelings. The beach is the most important thing. It’s a place to make new friends however it is a place where there are troubles.
    Cheers for reading this.
    Loz

  59. tyla says:

    i dont really like your poem.
    does it even matter if i am typing it is not like you are going to read it anyways!!!!!
    if you do type back send me a way better poem PLEASE!!!!!!!

  60. Loreli says:

    This poem rocks my socks!

  61. Elodie says:

    I just thought i’d share with you some of the ideas i have been looking at…
    the star personality could involve a motif using the hand “five languid fingers” so the hand would be the focus point
    Also Cummings experimented with Synta, which in this poem evidently creates a very strong rhythm!! so i have created a motif using that rhythm as the initial point…
    Well, thats my input… hope it helps =)
    Good luck y’all!!
    Elodie

  62. Elodie says:

    Hi, i just wanted to say how useful all these comments have been! I would like toknow if any of you know wether there are any other discussions going on on the other questions of the paper…
    Many thanks!
    Elodie.

  63. becky says:

    again…an AS stunent! no surprise there.
    the style of this poem is child like so the movements and motifs should represent that, but in the second half of the poem, the tone changes. it becomes more subdued and fearful. possibly showing a different aspect to her personality.
    she seems connected to the sea in some way, saying that she goes there to find herself.

    cheers for reading this. its only my opinion, theres probably a million different interprataitons of it…

  64. nikki says:

    like the last 10 comments i am also an as student of dance and studing the question i think that the girls are different personalites of one person and deal with different themes within the poem like childhood, loniness and the nusery style shows that going back to childhood can help you with your problems which is illustrated by the last two lines. the beach is a repersentative of the childhood and movement motifs could stat with beach play!

  65. NLR says:

    When I first looked at this question, I cried! But when I looked a little deeper, I came up with my own interpretation. I feel that the characters are just pretending that they are playing on the beach – a child-like game. The way the poem is written also suggests that it is meant to be read as if a child is telling a story without taking any breaths as ‘and’ is used to link every stanza!

  66. Emily says:

    hey i’m the same as everyone else i’m researching this poem for as dance, everyones comments have actually been helpful, but i think i might do the quote.

  67. Emma says:

    the idea of the whole four different personalities is brilliant and the way cummings refers to the beach because it is mainly everyones childhood memories. Can anyone think of a starting point for a motif because here i am totally lost? Thanks

  68. Beth says:

    i think th poem is about one woman who has diffrent moods and feelings and how she copes. the first (maggie) is her simple way of cope ing with stress and troubles. the seconed (milly)shows her frendly side and how she has no predudice. the 3rd (molly)shows how she is easily scared and runs from her problems and fears. the 4th (may) shows how no matter what she shows on the out side she allways feels alone and trapped as the sea is stopping her. the last bit to me means what eva we do or show on the outside within is very diffrent. thnx 4 reading xx

  69. jesney says:

    like many of the other poeple who have commmented on this poem i am an AS dance student and have found some of the comments on this site very useful in my research as i felt it was important to find out other people’s opinions on the poem. though i have found that no one has actually commmented on the fact that e e cummings does not use capital letters and puntuation in his writing which was due to his strong feeling against capitalism which delves into a whole other kettle of fish, i think u’ll find!! i hope that this will add another dynamic to help your peice…. and good luck to every one!

  70. gemma says:

    im doing AS dance, as most people, we too have been told to research all questions and this is the only one i have had trouble with. To Sarah, we were told that you would be better not trying to represent each character separatly but rather the story in depth and what you think the meaning of the overall poem might be. for example i thought it could be one person, and the different aspects of their personality.

  71. Ravik says:

    I am an AS Dance student at the TAD (Turkish Association of Dance)

  72. charlotte says:

    another person studying as dance……
    silly exam boads eh??
    asking silly questions

    this is one of the harest bur=t easiet question to do out of the ones we were given other then using the sign language…..

    i have been asked to research all the questions this is possibley the hardest to research plaese if you have any way you can help

    charemm@hotmail.com

  73. colleen robinson says:

    i am studing this pome for as dance and would like to no the meaning behind this pome and some motifs i could use to help me with this pome please!!!

  74. sarah says:

    i have to study this poem for dance as level and i need some help from other dancers as to how they would portray each character and what motifs they might use. thank you dancers!!!

  75. Kathryn says:

    I’m doing AS dance. You could try a split personality, try portraying all the 4 girls separately. Then you could say that it is like how the poem is structured, with set sections surrounding each girl?
    Kx

  76. Emma says:

    I am also doing AS dance and was drawn to this poem whereas other members of my class thought it was silly and has chosen other stimuli to use. i think that this could be quite a difficult one to do but could be done as a narrtive rather than abstract piece. dont no how i couold represent all four girls tho? any ideas?

  77. anon says:

    “Just discovered Cumming and still trying to get my head around him, but I LIKE.”

    Anna from United Kingdom

  78. SJB says:

    Basically I do AS level dance and I have to create a solo piece reflecting what the poem is trying to portrait. It seems to me to symbolise a persons search to find who they are in a world where its too easy to imitate others and conform. But I would like someone to further aliterate the depths of the poem aswell as give me and idea of how I could create a contemporary piece on the poem.

  79. Tasha says:

    Im taking As-level dance and this poem sounded stupid to me as i read it without an open mind i just saw that it didnt rhyme and thought it was stupid but i guess looking at other peoples views on the poem makes me understand it more! i wasnt reali impressed with the questions we were given on the paper but i think i need to look more deeply into them to get a good full understanding on them. Thanks for ur opinions they reali have made me think!!

  80. sarah says:

    I am also studying a level dance and have to produce a dance on the poem. i feel that the poem is about one person who finds many different personalities at the seaside. i feel this person would be quite old and find their inner, much younger selves!!

  81. melissa says:

    i am also doing this for a level dance thats my interpretation id show togertherness and a childishness in begining growing into different independent characters {could show differences through different motifs for each character} think of life individuality and whatever comes to mind

  82. melissa says:

    this poem is about 4 girls not really characters jst examples of everyday people it is about the journey of life startin off as children as in childhood we hang out in groups n play and there is alot of togertherness in youth. each character discovers something different from the sea {the sea is a metaphor for adult life} so as they grow up they discover thier own path in life ie maggie becomes a troubled individual as she must {have troubles 2 be able 2 forget them} milly is a curious nuturing individual molly comes across to me as an active person very loud, and may comes across as the lonley indivdual. as small as aworld and as large as alone 2 me is the way we look at life u either see the world as a small place that u know of and are comfortable with or u see it as a big place that u r alone in and are scared of entering.the poem concludes with “for whatever we lose a you or a me it is always ourselfs we find in the sea” meaning as you grow up you find yourself your path in life u become an individual and you enter life |{the sea} on your own

  83. Vickie Mitchell says:

    I understand that the poem is represented in many ways about young girls and their differences in how they experience life. They all recieve different expectations of life.They have all grown up and become independant and faced different challenges and in the end they only have theirselves.

  84. kelly says:

    I am doing my alevel dance and we have to produce a dance on this poem, im finding it hard to realise the inner feelings within the poem and wondering if you could help as its hard to put the feelings into the dance or what actions 2 use thanks x

  85. Harriette says:

    I have just read the poem and my initial reactions were that it reminded me of old ladys staggering up to the bach, but once the get there they find their younger persona once again; which in tern makes them come alive! Sorry, I’m a dance student so i see everything in a sense of movement and colour! please comment on my interpretation- for i have no idea and cant find what he actually said! lol

  86. laurie and laura says:

    please can anyone advise us in translating the meaning of the poem
    we are both studying a level dance and are doing a dance on the poem
    can anyone help???

  87. Kristie says:

    I believe the true genius of this poem is the mystery that radiates from it. At first it seems like a meaningless doodle, yet, as the vaugeness of it sinks in, you realize you don’t REALLY know what he ment. cummings left us in the dark to discover our own opinions at the seashore.

  88. chelsey says:

    i think this poem has a brilliant message about personality and finding yourself. In this case a beach, where many years ago you would have found yourself with not as many troubles. I agree with the ccomment on looking at what Maggie found at the beach, as she is significant and should be a symbol/idol in what we all should hopefully find in ourselves. Very moving piece!

  89. Tori says:

    Wow! I love that poem! It makes lots of sense and makes really good connections. Where do you get these ideas.

  90. Lucy Moore says:

    I think that this poem is about 4 different personalities of one woman. the light language contrasts with the deep meaning. It is about lonliness, isolation and inner self. Life can sem perfect on the outside, but inside, you are crying out and need to escaoe from your problems.

  91. meryl says:

    ok so i’m not a poetry buff or anything, but i understood this poem as a discovery of personality traits. each girl finds out something different about themselves. i think that
    “may came home with a smooth round stone
    as small as a world and as large as alone.”
    can be interpreted as how no matter how big the world is, or how many people someone has that love and care about that person, he or she could still be very lonely.

  92. jen pinkowski says:

    I think I read this poem in 7th grade!!!

  93. Sunny says:

    e.e. cummings rocks. This is one of my all-time favorite peoms in the world. And I believe that-
    ‘may came home with a smooth round stone
    as small as a world and as large as alone.’ is the most memorable line is this poem, and perhaps at LEAST the second best piece of a poem in the world.
    It comes off as meaning many different things to everyone, but no matter what it means, it always has a GREAT meaning. To be able to do that with just two lines of poetry is a wonderous thing. It speaks to the soul, and all that.

  94. Emily says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these comments about the poem. I am about to give a vocal recital this comming February and am doing research on my pieces. One of the pieces I am singing is “Seashore Girls” which is a musical setting of this poem by Richard Hundley. If any of you get a chance, you should find a copy of it. I found a few online, but they aren’t the best in terms of quality.

    I just thought I’d share. It’s a beautiful setting. Hundley really captured what cummings wanted to say. Thanks again for the insight.

  95. Tiki says:

    its one of E.E cummings better poems its positivly wonder

  96. louise says:

    of course I meant childhood,loss and friendship

  97. louise says:

    a perfect poem about chidhood, loss and childhood

  98. Kellen says:

    “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”

    ^These lines are what the poem is mostly about. I agree with Dena from the U.S. that the line “as small as a world and as large as alone.” Is one of the best lines of poetry ever written (maybe not THE best). The second to last line of this poem was also very strong, it is saying that if we lose our way in life (followed by the last line) that says we can always confide in the ocean.
    E e cummings is my favorite poet ever, my brother likes T.S. Elliot, but I dunno I think Cummings owns.

  99. coco says:

    i really liked this poem its pretty much about what u can find about yourself in unexpected places.

  100. julie says:

    Does anyone remember this poem as a choral song? I sang it in 6th grade, back in 1970. I wonder who wrote the music?

  101. JWLuikart says:

    I have never thought of it as a poem about how we deal with loss of a loved one, but rather as the growing up of the four girls or four types of people rather. They go down to the sea which seems to me to be the great wide world. They leave home, go out into the world and what they learn of themselves is what they bring back. It is just a thought. The “small as a world and as large as alone” part is about the stone may finds as her mind or state of mind. Each of us carries around a little world in our heads, but for those of us who have felt loneliness, it is a state of mind, but it can feel so vast. The may type is a thinker/imaginer.

  102. Alen says:

    thIs PoEm ArE the GreaTeSt EvAr!

  103. Shara Sperry says:

    maggie and milly and molly and may is a very good poem writen by e.e. cummings. i think the poem is a little confusing in the begging. i am doing a bio sketch about e.e. cummings for my english class and i needed to choose 2 poems by a poet, i choose e.e. cummings. the poems i choose were maggie and milly and molly and may, and anyone live in a pretty how town. i don’t understand anyone live in a pretty how town but i understand maggie and milly and molly and may more than i understand anyone live in a pretty how town. but i still need to understand both of them more than i do now. i do understand the first part of the poem maggie and milly and molly and may, but the last couple of stanzas make barely any sence to me. i know i am stupid but i still don’t understand them. i need to understand them by tomorrow, because that is when my bio sketch is due, and i need to do that stupid bio sketch that is due tomorrow. but still even though e.e. cummings poems can be very confusing, he is still a wonderful very exellent poet, but i still need to do my bio sketch on e.e. cummings, and then i have to do a essay on maggie and milly and molly and may, and anyone live ina pretty how town, one essay for each poem, so that is one bio sketch on e.e. cummings, one essay on maggie and milly and molly and may, and one essay on anyone live in a pretty how town, so i need some help by tomorrow.

  104. Sarah says:

    what does as small as a world and as large as alone mean?

  105. Seattle says:

    I have always thought that this poem was written about how different people react to the loss of loved ones in different ways. Some recover and some never truly do. I think that he used the alliteration of the names to show how alike the four subjects were and yet they all dealt with their loss in their own way. I do agree with Richard about the capitalization. ee cummings doesn’t want us to focus on their names but on what they discovered down at the beach.

  106. Amber says:

    Jamie, I think that Richard is correct. He uses caps for emphisisum. In the poem
    “anyone lived in a pretty how town”, one of my favorites, Cummings capitalizes
    the word Woman twice. So in this poem, the names aren’t important. The
    subject is. But you’re right to Jamie. He doesn’t oftenly capitalize. That’s all I
    wanted to say.

  107. Jamie says:

    Actually it is to my working knowledge, Richard, since I am pracitcally an expert on this poet, that Cummings does not captialize the names of the girls because part of his unique style is that he makes typical typographical errors. He seldom captitalizes anything.

  108. Richard Wright III says:

    anyways…let me explain to u what this poem means. In the title the girls names arent capitalized meaning he wants us to focus more on the subject matter rather than the people. Second Maggie is spelled differently than the rest telling us to focus on what she finds which takes her troubles away so the poem is about troubles. The Last stanza is telling us that we are not the only ones on this earth who have bad days or are feeling bad and that we can always find something or someone to ease our troubles.

  109. Hatsumiyo-chan says:

    wow! i had no clue this poem was by ee cummings! i read this poem in…the fourth grade, i think…and i had absolutely NO CLUE it was by the one and only great poet ee cummings! maggie and milly and mollie and may is one of my favorite poems! -_^

  110. Heather Gosch says:

    I think that this poem is the best poem that I had ever read. Usually I read Walt Whitman. I think that e.e cummings is good at writing the poems he writes, this poem is my favorite because of the assonance and alliteration in the poem.I think that he is better at writing poems than other poets. But that’s only my opinion.

  111. Nathan says:

    1. Many of you really need to improve your grammar.
    2. I don’t really know what this poem is saying, but I think it is saying that everyone discovers something different every day, whether that is good or bad.
    3. I also think that Anna from the U.K. has provided a plausible explination, but forgot about the crab.

  112. Michael says:

    this poem really starts on line 11

  113. frozen fury says:

    this poem isn’t actually all that deep
    the last line tells you what the poem means as a whole
    all of the things that the girls found depicted thier character. thats it what the heck is there to think about. but i think the poem is very funny and smart

  114. amana says:

    Here Cummings beautifully portrays how significant and creatively inspiring even the smallest of things can be. Sometimes, it is necessary to see that which is right in front of u, as poets we often delve to deeply…

  115. Certified Gangsta says:

    wow yall r 2 obssesed wit poems…..its just a poem

  116. M. Dempsey says:

    This is one of the best poems i have ever read. It is in Adventures for Readers, and anthology. I first read it in 6th grade, and i loved it right away. I wish that the punctuation was not included, like the way e.e. cummings had originaly written it.

  117. dena says:

    the poem says to me we can’t escape who we are. and in my opinion “as small as a world and as large as alone” is the greatest line of poetry ever written.

  118. eesha ahmad says:

    This poem has a very deep meaning & really made me think.I think E.E.Cumming is just great.

  119. Michelle says:

    The poem had a very in depth meaning. Shows true character.

  120. whitney says:

    i think one aspect of this poem is the fact that maggie and milly and molly and may are all seperate people who are different, but are drawn together by certain things, much like the sea and the sand and the rocks and the shells are all very different but connected by one thing

  121. Anna says:

    Cummings uses the two little girls as a tableu for life. The sea side is something we have all experienced as children and so the poet uses a nursery rhyme like tone to suggest this. The poet seems to suggest that as a child all our problems were non exsistent. We were satisfied with exploring the world around us. But as adults we end up having much more to worry about. Cummings seems to be saying that we could recapture our problemless childhood by returning to the sea, and uses alliteration and soft rolling words to echo the sound of the sea ,mainly through worlds with the letter S like stone.
    Just discovered Cumming and still trying to get my head around him, but I LIKE.

  122. Beth says:

    I don’t understand why it’s necessary to completely dissect every bit of this poem. I think it speaks well for itself.

  123. Stephen says:

    This poem is so beautiful it comments for itself

  124. JJ Dynamite says:

    The author uses alliteration very effectively throughout the poem. “Maggie and milly and molly and may,” is an obvious example of this. The opening line in which this alliteration appears, sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The similiarities in the four girls names create an image of four sisters, even quadruplets, who head to the beach to spend a summer day together. Alliteration is also used in the second stanza, “a shell that sang so sweetly she.” This is effective because it uses the softness of the “s” to portray to the reader the sound of singing that maggie found inside her shell.

  125. Eileen says:

    Characteristic of Cummings, there are words within words in this poem. For example, “beach” can be broken down into “be each.” And notice that the phrases within the parentheses are virtually interchangeable.

  126. Angela says:

    This poem has been a favorite of mine for over 25 years. I feel it expresses the fact we are attracted to those things that reflect our personalities. We all face similiar emotions. What better place to ponder and find ourselves than by the sea shore?

  127. Elaine Kaminsky says:

    This poem speaks of friendship, caring, sharing and self while the sea provides a blanket of cover. A very powerful message.

  128. Nazia Khawaja says:

    this poem has a very deep meaning…this poem shows that it has been written by a person who learnt so many things from this world..who is very much experienced and mature…

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