Me up at does
out of the floor
quietly Stare
a poisoned mouse

still who alive
is asking What
have i done that
You wouldn’t have

Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem (Me up at does)


  1. Ephraim Naas says:

    Almost identical to a white mans burden… if in my shoes, you would have fallen to the same actions and fate as I.

  2. Vincent Shepherd says:

    He gains our interest of reading this poem over and over trying to make sence of his words. We want to understand and find his message eventhough the words are mixed up.

  3. Beth says:

    Try taking the words and rearranging them into one or two sentences. It takes some effort, but this process can help with the understanding of his poem. Also look at the words he chose to capitalize. Besides that, this poem is a commentary on hypocrisy, how we judge others when they are only trying to survive. We all have a survival instinct, yet how quickly we forget. I love how the poet has distilled the very essence of what it means to be a hypocrite.

  4. Stanley Greenstein says:

    I see considerable discussion about the last line of the poem. But what about the first line? It seems to me that the first line is the moment when the mouse gets poisoned, and loses all ability to use intelligible language. In this way, it contrasts with the profundity of the end. As he lies dying, the mouse regains his ability to speak, and says, in brief, ‘I have no need to justify my life.’

  5. Samane says:

    I think the poet is speaking throgh the mouth of a criminal. May be in war , in the street or any other place he had killed sb, unintetionally, That person is sad all the time and there is astorm at his mind, and even poisening a mouse makes him confused and distressed.

  6. roger says:

    this gives a clear indication of the complete pattern of thought that e.e. cummings had. to me this showed a hold of the full days of experience in a short moment of time. and also of the competition that took place during some of the stages of any particlar day.

  7. mike says:

    never have i read something so boring in my life

  8. Emily says:

    i belive that this peom is very awsome, i think that thoughts who do not understand his writing will learn more about him if you read more of this work. i enjoy every bit of what he has to offer in his writing.

  9. Will says:

    The analysis and comments of this poem is one of my assignments of school.It’s rather difficult for a Chinese college student ,like me, to understand it.
    It is your website that helps me make it!

  10. Craig says:

    So simple a poem and at the same time so deep and so emotionally wrenching. Edgarian in nature, it points a finger straight out of the page at your face and makes you examine yourself. The focus of this poem can be summed up in one word: Hypocracy. No further explanation be needed. The world is full of it, and Cummings did an amazing job getting his point across in a way that was at the same time simple, moving, cutting, intelligent and artistic.

  11. Carmine says:

    The poem, i think, is essentially about the universality of human experience in the sense that we all feel subjected at some point in our lives. ‘What have i done that you wouldn’t have?’ is the heart of the poem – across species, class, culture, nationality, religion & etc. it must be remembered that none of us want to be poisoned.

  12. clayton perry says:

    i think people overanalyze. could it be that he saw a mouse after eating rat poison? one thing that people like to do is overanalyze what famous people say as if they’re the smartest person in the world. this could have been a scribbling on a napkin somewhere when that thought popped in his head. dont get me wrong, i know it could represent a higher society and suffering and such and so-on, but you sometimes you have to realize that it may mean nothing. this happened a lot with the works and lyrics of Bob Dylan. he said that he just wrote down stories in his head or thought or whatever, and that people overanalyzed and made up their own stories with deep deep hidden backgrounds and messages that needed to be literarily decoded. It could be either. It’s just that some people find famous people in such high regard that they hold their words as moe than they may be, because, after all, ee cumings was more or less just like you and I. Don’t delve too deep people. Sometimes it’s necessary, but not always.

  13. maureen says:

    I would agree that even though the narrator is a human, the mouse’s perspective is still communicated. After all, from a human perspective no one would know what the mouse is saying. I also think that the rearranged word order communicates the chaotic state of the dying mouse’s mind, especially since it’s poisoned and not just trapped.

  14. Ashley E. age:18 says:

    I think this poem is about how during the great depression there were a lot of suicides and basically the mouse is saying “If you lost your money your job and everything that means somthing to you. wouldnt you do the same as me which is kill myself” and hes asking the “bigger” people of society that question.

  15. Donna says:

    The theme of human alienation in Me up at does, is one we cannot deny. Many times, we see others around us dying slowly, doing things that will lead to their doom and we actually encourage these acts by ” providing cheese” through drugs, encouragement , envying them and hating them. Finally when their death comes, we feel a deep sorrow and think “what could i have done better”. Undeniably the personna has a deep sense of regret at the end. And this is evident in the abrupt end on the “imagined ” words of the mouse. The words resound and resound in the personna and the reader’s head. I believe this poem is a call to all races, nations and ppl in different neighbourhoods. DOnt wait till the shunned and neglected are about to die before you reflect on sorrow and what you could have done. NOw is the time to smile at someone, to speak to them about their misdeeds and to show them that Jesus is the savior. A few weeks ago, a boy in my college died. He was found with stabs and shots aallover him. Drugs maybe, who knows but “what had he done that we wouldnt have done” maybe if we didnt live in such an alienated society and we got to know each other.maybe then and just maybe if oneday i had spoken to Ricky about Jesus Christ and invited him to church. Maybe then we wouldnt be staring down at the haunting eyes on the bereavment T-shirt that students wear, the shirt in which the face of ricky asks..”what have i done that you wouldnt have”

  16. diyako says:

    when you are reading a poem by cumming more than any thing you should be careful about the form.I don’t want to influnce other’s viwes but I do care the just words in capitale Me Stare What

  17. Alicia says:

    Like a lot of you, I agree that Cummings is commenting on social classes. I think he is raising the question who are we to think we’re better than anyone else? Whether it be because of social classes or skin color (or even species), we are all more alike than what we may think. If we were that mouse we would have taken the cheese just like he did, so why is it up to us to play god and decides who lives and who dies? Or for that matter, who is more superior?

    I’m just having trouble interepreting the line “Me up at does.” Any ideas?

  18. John says:

    This poem is a first person narrative. The narrator has poisoned a mouse. The mouse is still alive and staring at the narrator through a crack in the floor. The mouse is quiet but seems, to the narrator, to be asking, “What have i done that you wouldn’t have”.


    This poem is very deep in the sense that I think it is talking about what you accomplish in life, stuff that NO one else has the courage to.

  20. Britt says:

    this poem is really supposed to be looked at from the mouses view, you can rearrange the poem to be spoken from the mouse itself.

  21. gemma says:

    the poem me upat does is great, i read so many poems and this just stood out. who are we to judge who or what dies and lives. or am i reading to much into it coz i’m a artist. poem is just great.

  22. amana says:

    sometimes nothing is said, that is exactly what he wants to bring accross, we stare passively, whilst doing nothing. we are essentially all poison, we like to stare at the death of others, not realizing we are dying too.

  23. Sarah says:

    cummings has been my favorite poet since I was about 7 and I have his complete works but have just recently discovered this poem. It affected me a lot. I have been a vegetarian all my life and may have a particular sensitivity toward animals, but this poem made me think of pests, and of animals people eat, and of social classes. It seems to me that if we can keep this poem in mind at all times and live by it, we can be truly sensitive souls. There are people starving and people stealing and people we look down on who are the lower classes of society but ultimately we all want the same things: to survive, and the best for our offspring. When it comes down to survival every person is equal, we all want the same things.

  24. David says:

    My interpretation would be that in the face of death we never exactly know what to do… no matter what life form it is… in this case a mouse

  25. bill says:

    acid wasnt discovered till after he wrote this and he was pretty old.

  26. Joe says:

    It’s an interesting poem. There’s more to it than meets the eye. The mouse is poisoned, not dead. But it will die soon. I think cummings is thinking about, how could someone kill another thing. Be it a mouse. But it could go farther than that. I think the poem is about indifference to life. How we can so easily kill something else.

    still who alive
    is asking What
    have i done that
    You wouldn’t have

  27. Lance says:

    I think that Cummings is trying to tell us about societies social classes and how people are so cruel to others.

  28. Anthony says:

    Certain drugs can stimulate the imagination. I wonder if the acid permanetly altered his though processes…

  29. antris says:

    well even if he is on acid, he still produced something worth reading and that has been thought provoking. I’d like to see anyone write poetry like this while drugged.

  30. Chris says:

    He is on acid and many other drugs i read up on him during his teen life.

  31. yan says:

    personally i think the poem is about us looking down on a helpless creature.. we are so aggravated by this tiny thing living in our house but the mouse asks us “if you were me, what would you do?”… we wouldnt do anything differently… we all have to live, no matter how small we are.

  32. Marc says:

    It just goes to show how distilled Cummings can write. in his writing I saw a much more fatalistic view. To me, the mouse seems to be questioning social classes. Even more so, the mouse seems to despair at the hand it was dealt.

    I find it amazing that so many interpretations can be wrought from so few words.

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