Thy fingers make early flowers of… (IV)

Thy fingers make early flowers of
all things.
thy hair mostly the hours love:
a smoothness which
(though love be a day)
do not fear,we will go amaying.

thy whitest feet crisply are straying.
thy moist eyes are at kisses playing,
whose strangeness much
(though love be a day)
for which girl art thou flowers bringing?

To be thy lips is a sweet thing
and small.
Death,Thee i call rich beyond wishing
if this thou catch,
else missing.
(though love be a day
and life be nothing,it shall not stop kissing).

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem Thy fingers make early flowers of… (IV)


  1. Matt says:

    You all have it wrong. Its about promiscuity. love be a day, for which girl art thou flowers bringing… Hes saying that even though their love is just for the day, she is so beautiful and amazing that for that one day he truly loves her.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I disagree with Jeff as well. Cummings is one of my favorite poets precisely because he breaks out of traditional form and syntax. I will admit that sometimes I think he takes his nonform too far, but usually, he seems to have good reason for abusing the rules of English grammar. I direct your attention to his poem “since feeling is first” which might explain why he often breaks away from our imposed and artificial rules of organization. E. E. Cummings is making the point that feelings are more real and important than strict, artificial human rules. Love often breaks the rules of human propriety, and thus, Cummings focuses on the feeling of the poem rather than the artificially-imposed “proper” structure. This particular poem, “Thy fingers make early flowers of,” I think speaks again about love (or, more specifically, beauty) and its immortality. No matter how short life or love is (“though love be a day and life be nothing”), beauty lasts in love. This girl is perfect in the narrator’s eyes and will always be so (notice that “Always” is one of the few capitalized words in the poem). The poem simply praises different parts of the girl (fingers, hair, feet, eyes, lips) which all remind the narrator of Spring, love, and happiness. There is a lot more to analyze about this poem, but I will leave the rest to interpretation. If you are more interested in stricter form, E. E. Cummings wrote a number of sonnets published in his book Tulips and Chimneys, so if you are honestly interested in understanding Cummings, I urge you to start with them. I also urge you not to immediately write off a poem as bad just because you don’t understand it right away. First, try reading the poem quickly and see what general feeling you get from it. Then, try picking the poem apart, attempting to understand it phrase by phrase, and that may help you with the overall meaning. This poem is not simply a random jumble of words, so do not dismiss it as such without attempting to understand it. It also has plot, tone, attitude, and imagination, if you look well enough, and its lack of syntax was a conscious choice by the author to emphasize a point. Please explore more of Cummings if you think he writes only nonsense and perhaps you will begin to understand more of where he is coming from.

    • Kate says:

      thy whitest feet crisply are straying.

      for which girl art thou flowers bringing?

      It feels at the part he writes Always is saying that she always straying away.

      And which girl art thou flowers bringing meaning who am I bringing flowers to?

      Maybe you can help me interpret these parts…

  3. Daniel Clarke says:

    i disagree with you as well jEFF bUt i will take your advice and check out the other poetry to broaden my horizons. instead of being like some *cough,you cough* thanks

  4. Kat says:

    I believe you are wrong, Mr. Jeff, the Buffalo Bill poem is one of my all time favorites. You ,however, must be reading it wrong because it makes perfectly sence to me.

  5. Dennis says:

    Unlike what the other comment reads I love this poem and think it is one of the more beautiful poems ever written by anyone. You have to remember that e e didn’t write “traditional” poetry. It’s more about what images he can conjure up as you read it. Not plot or syntax or whatever. Just like other writers in the early 20th century. They were bored with rhyming just to fit a pattern or counting sylibles to know when a line should end.

  6. Jeff Fogel says:

    This poem makes absolutely no sense what so ever and I don’t know how anyone considers this poetry. If this is poetry then I could basically ramble any words I want on a piece of paper in any order I want and call it a poem. If this is poetry then my 7 year old son is a master poet because he can write a bunch of words on paper that make absolutely no sense. I’ve read a lot of Cummings poem (in just, O sweet spontaneous, Buffalo Bill’s) and many others just because I had to see how stupid they were. They are all jumbled up words in no particular order with a couple Thy’s and Thou’s in them to make them sound like Shakespeare. If you want to read some good poems I recommend looking up Theodore Roethke or Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath has an excellent poem called Lady Lazarus. Now this poem is pure poetry, it has plot, tone, attitude, imagination and syntax all the good things that make up good poetry.

    This comment is only my views and opinions of E.E. Cummings poetry; if anyone has questions or comments for me feel free to email me at I will answer every email good or bad.


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