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


  1. yassin says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  6. dynamyte says:

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

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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?

  9. MOLLY says:


  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. frankie g says:

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

  17. kate says:

    When was this poem written??

  18. 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 !

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

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