O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the doting

fingers of
prurient philosophies pinched
and poked

has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy
knees squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


Analysis, meaning and summary of e.e. cummings's poem O sweet spontaneous


  1. PaulRDay says:

    This is wrong…..should be
    “prurient philosophers”

  2. Jade says:

    I find it interesting that cummings chose to describe the earth as “spontaneous” in the first line of the poem, and death as its “rhythmic lover”. I would have thought that death was the more spontaneous of the two, and earth’s rhythmic cycles are the very opposite of spontaneous.

  3. Ad says:

    prurient philosophies pinched
    Is this an alliteration?

  4. Denise Varnedore says:

    The answer to how things came to be is all around us…the earth is evidence in and of itself. We are bombarded with a million questions about existence and we want every one of them answered, yet if we look around us and simply enjoy the magic of what has been put there we would see that nature answers our questions. We want answers, physical evidence…we have failed to see what is already there and in do doing this we have also closed our minds to the inconceivable

  5. CharlesG says:

    Fans of this poem may also wish to check out, “Leaves of Grass,” by Walt Whitman (1819-1892), for the similarly-themed, “When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” Another pair of complimentary poems by Cummings are right here in this collection: “Now i lay(with everywhere around)…,” and, “Spring is like a perhaps hand…”

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