r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
                           who
  a)s w(e loo)k
  upnowgath
                       PPEGORHRASS
                                                       eringint(o-
  aThe):l
               eA
                    !p:
S                                                                        a
                                      (r
  rIvInG                              .gRrEaPsPhOs)
                                                                         to
  rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly
  ,grasshopper;
Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r

42 Comments

  1. Malibongwe Vena says:

    I agree that this is a poem that is very complex and interesting.It shows just how peoples imagination is so creative and at first I really hated the poem but I soon loved it more than I had hated it and I thank you E.E Cummings for such a great work.

  2. Jackson says:

    Thank you Noah; I could not have said it better myself.

  3. Noah says:

    Everybody is entitled to like whatever they want. They do have a life if they like this. If you can’t read it, you aren’t stupid. It’s not an easy poem to understand it. But i find it funny that James from the United States is judging people because they can’t read this poem, and he types “dis” instead of “this”

    classic, james, classic.

    This is a good poem, if you enjoy this type of poetry. If you don’t, get off your high horse and don’t tell people they’re stupid or that they have no life. You’re entitled to your opinion as much as they are.

  4. meow says:

    E.E Cummings is the man, for anyone who says this is the most absurd thing they’ve ever seen and ‘u’ are stupid if you enjoy this poem, man, you must have wax in your ears, wrong frequencyyyy, might as well get off this website. Literally- read between the lines.imagine- You’re sitting in the grass, you see something leap, blades of grass tremble, then subside, it jumps again! A cricket? It can’t be. No movement for atleast ten seconds, and as it leaps for the third or forth time, it Rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)nly
    ,grasshoper,

    Suck it, this is beautiful

  5. melanie says:

    could someone just rewrite the poem in the right form PLEASE(:

  6. Kyle says:

    What is this? I don’t even…….

  7. gary says:

    Ok im haveing trouble on his R-P-O-P-H-E-S-S-A-G-R poem i have no clue what he is saying anyone have a clue so they could help me?

  8. carolin says:

    i lik dis guys poems.. they mske me think. my teacher showed them 2 us dis year.

  9. Maggie says:

    im in 8th grade and i have to do a project on this poet. this poem is often seen in many places and as of today i really love this poem. it took me 1 week to figure out wat it means but as i kept reading and reading i really understood what it meant…

  10. Annette says:

    Grasshopper.
    Who as we look up now gathering into a T, he leaps arriving to rearrangingly become grasshopper.

    I love this poem. Really Really.

  11. Casey says:

    i’m in 7th grade and i was assigned this poem to figure out. it took me 3 hours!!!!!!!!! 🙁 actually, i didn’t really do it, which is why i now love this site

  12. paul says:

    Okay, check this out…you guys are all missing the ‘a’ so you end up with the wrong translation. This is a letter-for-letter translation – nothing added or left out – no personal interpretations. Enjoy!

    grasshopper
    who
    as we look
    up now gathering
    GRASSHOPPER
    into-
    a ‘T’ he leaps!:
    arriving grasshopper
    to rearrangingly
    become
    grasshopper

  13. jamie says:

    ok i am a senior in high school i have to wrie a paper on this poem. i have a 4.0 gpa and i have been voted prom king. i have looked at this poem for 2 weeks and i have gotten the title down and i have not gotten much further than that. how do i go about undertanding this poem. i just dont understand the damn thing. some help would be nice. my e-mail is love2ridebmx2002@sbcglobal.net please help me jamie

  14. Kelly P. says:

    Most of e.e. cummings’ work allowed readers to come up with their own interpretation, which is always nice. He also intends for most of his work to be read like a painting since he was also a painter and so he often painted with words. This means that he probably did not want you to necessarily read it as if it were a sentence, or even read it one time through as if it had one meaning. If you do this you will miss key details that help to fill in the mental imagery created by the poem. Each word or letter may be used for more than one meaning and not all of the letters have to be used in one interpretation. For instance it could be, in sentence format for easy understanding:

    ‘r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r’, who, as we look up now, gathering into a leap, arriving to become rearrangingly ‘grasshopper’.

    ‘r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r’, who, as we look up now, gathering into the leap ’s (is) a riving ‘gRrEaPsPhOs’ to rearraningly become ‘grasshopper’.

    Just a few quick interpretations and some food for thought. I hope most people will stop trying to read cummings: the one right way, as prose, and as typical poetry for that matter.

  15. Blair Ruffins says:

    I was assigned this poem in my english class to be explicated. I’m a junior in high school and i think i speak for everyone who was assigned this poem when i say, this is a very CONFUSING poem!
    but some peoples comments really helped me understand it alittle better!So thanks!
    E.E. Cummings is an awesome poet that writes poems in ways that makes his readers think and analyze what he has written. I just wish i could understand it alittle better!
    oh well!

  16. Yaritza says:

    The poem says:

    Who, as we look, now upgathering into himself, leaps, arriving to become, rearrangingily, a grasshopper

  17. Odious Youth says:

    grasshopper, who, as we look now is upathering into himself, leaps, arriving to become, rearrangingly, a grasshopper.

    or i think so at least =)

  18. rassghgay says:

    this poem likes men

  19. Vicki Lemmon says:

    This is a great poem and very masterfully done.I don’t really see the grasshopper shape but I understand the significance of the writing. Life is ever changing and as the grasshopper does we should also take each leap with courage and determination.

  20. erica says:

    ok, apparently this page doesnt print things correctly unless i use html so OOPS.. thats not how the poems supposed to look either. heres a link: http://deadparrot.home.pipeline.com/poetry/eec/eec14.htm

  21. erica says:

    this poem is not printed correctly. it should be something like this:

    r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
    who
    a)s w(e loo)k
    upnowgath
    PPEGORHRASS
    eringint(o-
    aThe):l
    eA
    !p:
    S a
    (r
    rIvInG .gRrEaPsPhOs)
    to
    rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly
    ,grasshopper;

  22. austin says:

    but were does the, a, go? before the “The”

  23. kevin mc says:

    this poem has got to be the hardest poem to understand.
    anyone who had enough time to figure out what this poem meant is stupid
    its is such a waste of time
    thanks for whoever figured it out though now i can understand it

  24. mergitrude hudson says:

    pizza is good. it makes me happy. with anchovies, and of course eggplant and chocolate sauce. Although, it gives me heart burn and hives. i like turtles too, they are nice to me. and i think that i should grow a moose antler on my ears. i have a goté and i like it. just like turtles. my mom says that i have to shave it off darn-i was hoping that i could join the circus, but now my dreams are crushed.
    and i love earings, and turtles, and of course, pizza! i love you truely merggie

  25. Jessica Hillyer says:

    WOW-

    My friend Patti O’Hagan and I stumbled across this poem after I reintroduced cummings to her. She absolutely hated cummings because she didn’t understand a word that he wrote, (keep in mind that we are high school seniors). The first one that I read to her with emotion was “She being brand” and Patti fell in love with it. We were flipping through a book at the library filled with e.e. cummings poetry and we fell upon r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r and couldn’t put it down. We studied it until we understood its play on words and I can not wait to teach this to my future students of English, (yes, I want to be an English teacher). Oh, it’s a lovely poem and I love it dearly. Did I mention that the poem was made into our class shirts? Oh, heavens yes! The front is quite immature: WE LIKE CUM! (ee cummings) and on the back it has the grasshopper poem with a picture of cummings as the background. I am so relieved that we are not the only ones absolutely, undoubtably in love with this poem.

  26. Allie says:

    Wow, what a poem. It really makes you think and wonder what Cummings was thinking when he wrote it. His poems are known for this kind of structure(or lack of). His poems contain a lot of parentheses and lack of correct grammer. Unfortunately, he is no longer alive, therefore we cannot ask him what he was thinking.:(
    I think this was a challenging poem and might as well have been a riddle.
    P.S.
    I can never see the grasshopper in the poem’s shape.

  27. Jane Slater says:

    This poem shows how playful cummings was. I don’t think having fun with poetry is a slap in the face to any poet, but rather a good way to get poets to take risks and be funny.
    (I laughed aloud when I finished it.)

    ps. so, how does one read this aloud? ; )

  28. Daniel Jones says:

    GRASSHOPPER WHO AS WE LOOK UP NOW GATHERING INOT A LEAP. THE GRASSHOPPER ARRIVING TO BECOME REARRANGINGLY GRASSHOPPER.

  29. Drew Nutter says:

    SORRY FOR SENDING TWICE, BUT I TRIED TO MAKE IT MORE READABLE USING HTML, I HOPE IT WORKED. To the editors of this site: I dont mind if you delete the other one, it contains the same stuff.

    At first site, this poem may appear to be jumbled, confusing and pointless, but it actually makes perfect sense, merely in a different method. Cummings’s style is unconventional and complex, which has caused it to receive skeptical criticism. Poems are traditionally created to be construed through the ear, yet Cummings created this poem to be construed through the eye. It is a visual, rather than a verbal, type of imagery. The poem apparantly has no rhyme scheme, and no meter.
    Imagery has typically been explicit verbal detail that causes the reader to get an understanding of the place described, and if it is done well, they should perceive actual images in their mind. Cummings’s imagery is somewhat reversed. His actual imagery had almost nothing to do with the words used. He used rearrangement of letters and word placement to create the the basic sense of a jumping grasshopper. It need not be a grasshopper, it can be any sentence that incorperates the same kind of movement. A grasshopper is merely a concrete object that he used to describe his subjective idea. The true genious of the work is that it appeals to all of the senses if understood correctly. It is somewhat like a computer program for your mind, as it affects your brain in such a way to create the same sense that is created by a jumping grasshopper.
    This image is created by jumbled letters. Random letters and words are scrambled, and when your mind tries to rationalize it, your subconsious goes through possible combinations, moving the letters around like grasshoppers. This unconsious thought puts the effect of a grasshopper in the readers mind without them even noticing. Also, the placement of the letters and words (especially in the middle of the poem where they are scattered randomly) displays the letters in journey; showing the whole idea displayed by the poem, rather than just the beginning and the end.
    The word “grasshopper” is a significant example of thisThe word appears four times in the poem (interestingly that it is spaced out almost exactly evenly), progressively becoming less scrambled each time until it reaches the unscrambled word “grasshopper.” It is a very similar method to the first one mentioned, but it is somewhat different; in that with this word, Cummings lays out the central idea and creates the main effect with it. The word could be stated the four times as it is, and it would still create the same effect.
    Some people believe that the words were placed where they are to make the poem look like a grasshopper. It was probably not intentional by Cummings, because it seems like a farfetched rationalization; but if it was, it was not his priority to make it like so. I do agree that the poem should be viewed like a painting, but in a more figurative way. Rather than looking for actual “drawings” with the letters, or as seeing it as a sequence of words, one must see the poem as an illustrated event. In other words, the beginning and end of the poem do not address the beginning and the end of the action, it is the whole poem as a whole (similarly to a painting) that address any movement or action.
    E E Cummings is truly a genious. One might think the poem to be merely raw talent, but it is actually a representation of his genious in a different method from other poets (similarly to how a song is different than a short story, Cummings’s style is different from that of normal poetry). To many people it may appear jumbled and pointless, but that is actually a different, and more visual type of imagery. Rather than creating a picture in your mind, it makes one imagine the effect of jumping grasshoppers. The letters jump around the poem as if they were grasshoppers in a container.

    Poem in a readable format for those of you who are stupid, removing the significant effects described earlier, therefore appearing less genious to even intelligent people–but whatever: r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r, who, as we look up, now gath(PPEGORHRASS)ering into the leaps, arriving (gRrEaPsPhOs) to rearrangingly become–grasshopper.
    P.S. I did not intentionally send my earlier comment twice, please forgive me. lol. I don’t mind if the editors delete it.
    P.P.S. I might find some time to edit this, if I do, I will paste my ananlysis on this site.
    P.P.P.S. This is how people think it looks like a grasshopper:

    P.P.P.P.S. IF THERE ARE ANY GRAMMATICAL OR SPELLING ERRORS, PLEASE E-MAIL THEM TO ME!!!

  30. Drew Nutter says:

    At first site, this poem may appear to be jumbled, confusing and pointless, but it actually makes perfect sense, merely in a different method. Cummings’s style is unconventional and complex, which has caused it to receive skeptical criticism. Poems are traditionally created to be construed through the ear, yet Cummings created this poem to be construed through the eye. (Someone who made a comment just before me made a very similar statement, I thought it to be very intelligent so I made a similar statement) It is a visual, rather than a verbal, type of imagery. The poem apparantly has no rhyme scheme, and no meter.
    Imagery has typically been explicit verbal detail that causes the reader to get an understanding of the place described, and if it is done well, they should perceive actual images in their mind. Cummings’s imagery is somewhat reversed. His actual imagery had almost nothing to do with the words used. He used rearrangement of letters and word placement to create the the basic sense of a jumping grasshopper. It need not be a grasshopper, it can be any sentence that incorperates the same kind of movement. A grasshopper is merely a concrete object that he used to describe his subjective idea. The true genious of the work is that it appeals to all of the senses if understood correctly. It is somewhat like a computer program for your mind, as it affects your brain in such a way to create the same sense that is created by a jumping grasshopper.
    This image is created by jumbled letters. Random letters and words are scrambled, and when your mind tries to rationalize it, your subconsious goes through possible combinations, moving the letters around like grasshoppers. This unconsious thought puts the effect of a grasshopper in the readers mind without them even noticing. Also, the placement of the letters and words (especially in the middle of the poem where they are scattered randomly) displays the letters in journey; showing the whole idea displayed by the poem, rather than just the beginning and the end.
    The word “grasshopper” is a significant example of thisThe word appears four times in the poem (interestingly that it is spaced out almost exactly evenly), progressively becoming less scrambled each time until it reaches the unscrambled word “grasshopper.” It is a very similar method to the first one mentioned, but it is somewhat different; in that with this word, Cummings lays out the central idea and creates the main effect with it. The word could be stated the four times as it is, and it would still create the same effect.
    Some people believe that the words were placed where they are to make the poem look like a grasshopper. It was probably not intentional by Cummings, because it seems like a farfetched rationalization; but if it was, it was not his priority to make it like so. I do agree that the poem should be viewed like a painting, but in a more figurative way. Rather than looking for actual “drawings” with the letters, or as seeing it as a sequence of words, one must see the poem as an illustrated event. In other words, the beginning and end of the poem do not address the beginning and the end of the action, it is the whole poem as a whole (similarly to a painting) that address any movement or action.
    E E Cummings is truly a genious. One might think the poem to be merely raw talent, but it is actually a representation of his genious in a different method from other poets (similarly to how a song is different than a short story, Cummings’s style is different from that of normal poetry). To many people it may appear jumbled and pointless, but that is actually a different, and more visual type of imagery. Rather than creating a picture in your mind, it makes one imagine the effect of jumping grasshoppers. The letters jump around the poem as if they were grasshoppers in a container.

    Poem in a readable format for those of you who are stupid, removing the significant effects described earlier, therefore appearing less genious to even intelligent people–but whatever: r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r, who, as we look up, now gath(PPEGORHRASS)ering into the leaps, arriving (gRrEaPsPhOs) to rearrangingly become–grasshopper.

    P.S. I did not intentionally send my earlier comment twice, please forgive me. lol

    P.P.S. I might find some time to edit this, if I do, I will paste my ananlysis on this site.

    P.P.P.S. Feel free to e-mail me with any sort of questions you may have.

  31. Drew Nutter says:

    E E Cummings is truly a genious. At first, I thought the poem to be merely raw talent, but I soon saw that he is actually representing his genious in a different method from other poets (like how a song is different than a short story, Cummings’s style is different from that of normal poetry). To many people it may appear jumbled and pointless, but thait is actually a different, and more visual type of imagery. Rather than creating a picture in your mind, it makes one imagine the effect of jumping grasshoppers. The letters jump around the poem as if they were grasshoppers in a container.

    By the way, this is the poem with the effect removed is:

    r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r, who, as we look up, now gath(PPEGORHRASS)ering into the leaps, arriving (gRrEaPsPhOs) to rearrangingly become–grasshopper

  32. ai says:

    though poems are traditionally addressed through the ear, cummings addresses the ear through the eye. this is evidenced by r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r, and should be appriciated for what it is. cummings was a literary genious and only those whom can not see beyond simple formatic and punctual adornments are not insightful enough to understand cummings work.

  33. Ryan says:

    Why is the grasshopper named what it is? The grasshopper is not truly what it is until it leaps into the air. This poem deals with how things are defined. Until it jumps, the insect that cummings makes the subject of this poem is just a r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r – it is undefined in the sense of its name. The world comes together only when the definition is complete – hence why “grasshopper” only comes at the end. Want to read really crappy literature? Go for William Carlos Williams. cummings is an absolute genius, and this poem is amazing and filled with meaning.

  34. Samu says:

    I agree wit u tat this poem is not cool. But it’s true tat e.e. cumming is a great poet. it’s just tat u r stupid.
    p.s only the smarts can read n understand this poem.

  35. Hoss says:

    This poem is so no cool. I can’t see the grasshopper! I don’t understand. ee cummings is no a great poet. I could get the same poem out of a drunk guy at the local pub!

  36. evette says:

    very interesting, wish this textual discharge into anything you want. just like he did some of you want SHIT some of you want to be enamoured. I want whatever he was on hahahahah [if that’s insulting in any way remember to wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills quicker, heh that’ll ease the pain]

  37. Ben Verow says:

    The first time I read this poem, I thought that it was the worst peice of literature that I had ever read. Ten or twenty times later, and my opinion is the same. This is not a work of genius. This is a slap in the face to any poet who studied the English language and attemped to create anything beautiful with his words. It’s almost disgusting.

  38. Robert says:

    the sheer brilliancy of the words arranged (or rather disarranged) to form a poem that also forms itself into something that describes a very precise image of a grasshopper..whew..cummings is a genius in literary lunacy..artistic and very ingenius

  39. amy says:

    this is the image of a grasshopper, rather, a bunch of them. they start out ruffled as something comes along and then slowly settle down to resume their original form which was clam and stable. OR it could be boiled down the the essence of one grasshopper, and this poem is merely a celebration of something so simple, yet he made it so complex. ee cummings is an interesting poet in this way. he writes in such simple language, but it can mean so much. ahh, how i love thee.

  40. Amanda says:

    my English teacher claims that this poem is shaped like a grasshopper… it’s more linear here on the webpage but the original formation is scattered. still don’t see it though… i guess i just envision bugs differently than my teacher 🙂

  41. Scottyv says:

    I believe it read as such:

    grasshopper, who, as we look, now upgathering into himself, leaps, arriving to become, rearrangingly, a grasshopper

  42. paulo de toledo says:

    cummings is my favorite poet. i made an hommage to him in my blog paulodtoledo.blog.uol.com.br
    i wait you there!
    ps: i am brazilian and my english is not so good.

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