i shall imagine life
is not worth dying,if
(and when)roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose,roses(you feel
certain)will only smile

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem i shall imagine life


  1. Cody Crowder says:

    Life is not worth death, if death is meaningless and without beauty.
    Mankind persuades itself that every life is just a death waiting to happen, and death awaits with a mischievous smile, without beauty.

  2. Jessica says:

    A friend recently gave me the most profound and insightful analysis of the second verse of this poem:

    There are those that will settle for less than the best they can do and convince themselves that a weed is a beautiful as a rose,

    and the rose will only smile.

    As long as you see the beauty in what you do…

  3. Adam says:

    1. stanza: even if all beautiful things must die, cummings persuades himself that life is still worth living, still beautiful while it lasts

    2. stanza: mankind likes to believe that even a bad life is beautiful, but is ignorant, really, of the beauties of the afterlife, which he assumes, is smiling down upon us.

    He is being sardonic.

  4. jarodl says:

    He seems to be saying that he will only say that life is worth dying when the real beauties say that their beauty is meaningless, or ‘in vain’.

    Despite the fact that the world tries to tell you that every ‘weed’, or essentially(rather than superficially) ugly thing is, in some way beautiful, you know, or should know, that the real beauties will only smile. Since, after all, that’s the beautiful thing to do.

    Sadly, I don’t see much in the world to support this optimism. The world has nearly succeeded in persuading us that every weed is a rose. So the beauties will die in silent. How long before they proclaim they are in vain?

  5. Daniel Rumsey says:

    This poem is soo good. I have not read much or any of
    e. e. cummings but I will deff. do so now.

  6. liana pehrsson-berindei says:

    LIfe`s not worth dying, life is worth living, the same old carpe diem, and what a joy life is.
    Known and used theme of the splendour of the rose and its too soon death.

    or the pessimistic approach…

    When something is good and beautiful, you say “it´s worth dying for”. Life not being worth dying for, could then be interpreted as a pessimistic view of life.

    Still, e.e. cummings loves life, and the moment, and the remembrence, and the yes…, so I stick to the first interpretation.

  7. Tia says:

    This Poem I find gives me inspiration on every day I live and the day I just might die,As everything lives by night or by day,I thrive inside just to know that I cannot lie. Thank- you for this inspiration
    – Tia

Leave a Reply to Tia Cancel 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.