Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shops and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem Humanity i love you


  1. Adriaen says:

    I have three favorite poems…Ozymandias by P.B. Shelley, Raisin in the Sun by Langston Hughes and Humanity i love you by e.e. cummings.

    ….”that you would rather black the boots of success than enquire whose soul dangles from his watch chain”. In other words, we fawn over the rich and famous, envy them, try to be them but never stop to consider what we corrupt within ourselves along the road of becoming. The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is an interesting and excellent extension of this theme. Can anyone actually achieve great financial success without sacrificing their soul…and the souls of many others? Were we all not so willing to throw principles aside to achieve our personal “success”, this would be a much different and more beautiful world. Just ask Bernie Madoff, Hosni Mubarek or Kadafi…or maybe Bill Clinton, George Bush or Barak Obama. Just how many souls are dangling from those watch chains?

  2. William Brennan says:

    the last lines are a redemption of mankind.
    cummings does not stray from sarcasm even at the end, and perhaps begrudgingly, turns his condemnation on its head because of mankind’s willingness to “make poems in the lap of death” (create in the midst of its own suffering, mortality and denial)

  3. Kaatrien says:

    Love this poem,basically he;s saying humanity is full of fuc-ers who are more interested in peoples status and front than who they are internally “Whose soul dangles from his watch chain”.

    He says we possess a bit of morality admist all the crap things we do but mostly in the end he is resigned to us being blind to “importance of life”,to what life is,we are continually forgeting it’s there like lost car keys.

  4. Paul_loyolahs says:

    “E.E. Cummings is a heavy user of sarcasm and personification in his poetry. He follows very closely the guidelines of modernistic imagism, covering his true and honest feelings only with a thin layer of sarcasm, still making his true point strongly felt by the reader. And at the end of this poem, Cummings even ceases use of that and just comes straight out and makes his point flat out. Another strong element present here is his use of personification, evident throughout the poem. Not only does he use personification as the overall picture of humanity, but he also uses this personification along with material metaphors to emphasize upon the selfish nature of humanity.”

    this is the introduction to my research paper on his poem. SUGGESTIONS, TIPS, CRITICISM WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED!!!!!!

  5. you wish you were this cool says:

    1st off laura, baby, disgust… dusgust… secondly you should adopt stupid’s name. working on a term paper, Cummings is my favorite poet. I love poetry and am said to be good at it, finding sites with expert criticism though is not my strong point. I need some quotable (citable rather) sources for the criticism section of my paper, any ideas? I need people who are intelligent enough to realize the obvious sarcasm/ be able to securely and acurately analyze poetry.

  6. stupid says:

    laura baby he hates humanity he doesn’t love it he’s using irony and sarcasm read it and try actually hearing him

  7. happy happy joy joy says:

    he’s using sarcasm to show his distaste for society and also his thoughts on World War 1 he wrote this right after

  8. Jackie says:

    i chose this poem for a project for my highschool poetry unit. like many of the poems cummings wrote, this one is satirical and has a sarcastic tone to it. this makes it effective, like people had said in the above comments. It was really helpful for me to understand the poem more, now that i have heard other people’s perspectives. Thanks for all the help.

  9. laura baby says:

    he seems to love humanity but yet he feels sad and discusted at the same time

  10. sarah says:

    unfortunately he`s right.

  11. Anna says:

    I believe that this the sarcasm that is used in this poem is social commentary on humanity. When e.e. cummings uses the phrase “humanity i love you” it is just sarcasm and at the end of the poem when it says “i hate you” it is the speaker’s real feelings coming out not covered by a thin film of sarcasm.

  12. natalie says:

    i feel that the next to last lines: “because you are
    forever making poems in the lap
    of death Humanity

    i hate you” reflect cummings’ own feelings about his work – is it worth making art in the hope of fighting the fear of death?

  13. Mike says:

    As humans (as in humanity) we are not perfect, and we all possess the ability to perform both good & evil tasks – (the duality of man); hence the love/hate of humanity, You cannot have one with out the other. But then again, this is only the second poem I have ever read.

  14. Alastair says:

    I’m only 16 years old and have been asked to write about this poem in my end of year exam. This is poem is worth recognition for the fact that it gets so many people worked up over Humanities faults. I’ve read evryones comments hear, agreeing & disagreeing with his point of view. But I believe he is just trying to get people to acknowledge our faults and realize that we must do something if we are to keep ourselves peacefully detached from the rest of the earth. Although he does conclude “Humanity i hate you” which i agree with a few other commenters, he seems to have been let down. Almost as if he believed in us as a whole. For me it induced a great deal of Shame.
    Just a comment!

  15. Kim says:

    to me, it doesn’t seem so much angry as cynical and sad — disappointed. Like he wants to love humanity, but its follies overreach his love and make him disgusted and sad.

  16. Carin says:

    This is a very intense poem that is very full of proof and truth. I do not find it cynical. Everyday we commit crimes against ourselves to keep peace or make a living. Our cries are stifled by a society that finds inner strength less attractive than outward success.

  17. Hatsumiyo-chan says:

    i really enjoy this poem! it helps express how i, personally, feel about all humanity! i’m glad i have foudna poem that i can relate to.

  18. Jackie says:

    to me this poem spits in the face of all humainty. it seems as though he is angry at the world for taking advantage of everything it has to offer, and he hides it through satire and irony and he dosnt honestly come out with it until the last stanza “i hate you”

  19. d. kyle says:

    this is true & hopefull of things to come (
    if they have not already come to pass). [i

  20. Tom says:

    Agree. Seems to set well in the gut.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by e.e. cummings better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.